The Khan Mazdoor Karmachari Union (Indian Federation of Trade Unions – Sarwahara) strongly Condemns and opposes the barbaric lathicharge by CISF personnel on the striking workers of Rajmahal (ECL) at the behest of Management in which at least three workers are seriously injured and have been hospitalised. Continue reading “The state brutality on the belligerent Coal workers shows the real intention of the Government: IFTU-Sarwahara”
We cannot afford to stop our resistance against capital and its lackeys
PROCESSION AND GHERAO OF ECL HEADQUARTER BY KHAN MAZDOOR KARMCHARI UNION (IFTU-Sarwahara) HELD SUCCESSFULLY ON 21-10-2014.
Let us continue our struggle!
The booklet was written by comrade A K Roy of Marxist Coordination Committee, in this cde. Roy promulgates a new Marxist view of understanding the Dalit Question in India. We have scanned the booklet and posting it for wider reach. The book is out of print, some of the pages of the book were so spoilt that a good quality scan was beyond the capability of our scanner. We will try to type those pages in near future.
Below we are posting a leaflet released by Khan Mazdoor Karmachari union against implementing an anti-worker biometric attendance system i.e. an attendance system by way of biometric scanning.
A widespread discontent is discernible among the workers, but due to capitulationist stance by the tailist trade unions comprising of CITU(affiliated to CPI M) , INTTUC (affiliated to Trinmool Congress), HMS (Social Democrats), BMS (affiliated to BJP), INTUC (affiliated to Congress), a united action could not be initiated. Continue reading “Bio-Metric Attendance is an attempt to enslave the workers”
This article was written in light of recent development where various communist parties and groups have been openly trying to forge an alliance with Medha Patkar led National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement, which is today India’s largest conglomeration of NGOs.
We hope that this article will generate greater debate amongst the left forces of the country.
From the Talk with a member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the CP of India (ML) November 14, 1970 Continue reading “Enver Hoxha’s Discussion with member of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)”
by William Ash
PICKAXE AND RIFLE is more than a historical account of this (Albania) interesting but little known country: it is a political and sociological study of the only socialist state in Europe.
Having liberated themselves from fascist occupation, how did te Albanian people free themselves also from the whole system of exploitation and defend their new socialist state from the hostile countries all around them?
A compelling account of real socialism in action
The comrades who were publishing the journal Ideological Fightback, issued this open letter titled “AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR COMRADES WHO ARE UNEASY AND DISSATISFIED WITH THE CURRENT ANTI-LENINIST SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC DIRECTION OF THE FACTION THAT CALLS ITSELF THE CPUSA”. In this letter they have exposed the liquidationist and bureaucratic tendency of the existing leadership of CPUSA that has become throughly revisionist, with no chance of returning back to the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist tradition. That is the reason why the comrades have constituted themselves in a new party the Party of Communists USA. Though, we do not support splitting of existing Communist parties, but in such case where the parent party becomes throughly revisionist and anti-ML, it becomes the duty of revolutionary Communists to come out of such entity and wage a fresh struggle from new platform. With the character of CPUSA very clear, we fully support the comrades of Party of Communists USA. On behalf of comrades of Other Aspect we sent our revolutionary greetings to the comrades and hope that under the new party the Communist movement in USA will go to higher level of struggle and a step closer to achieving Socialism.
Red Salute to Party of Communists USA
Long Live Marxism-Leninism
In 1919, our forerunners were members of the Socialist Party, but because of the Socialist Party’s support of American imperialism in WWI and their antagonism to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917, they left the Socialist Party structure because they had an allegiance to a Marxist-Leninist ideology, not to a structure. Once again, communists are facing the same problem within the party structure. Some people who call themselves “communists” seem to have a loyalty to a structure (the 23rd St. faction). We are not communists unless we follow the science of Marxism-Leninism and its world outlook (which tens of millions continue to support today).
Just as in 1919 when the previous party structure no longer suited the revolutionary conditions in the world, so today the present structure at 23rd Street has incrementally accommodated itself to a social democratic, opportunist “pragmatic” direction.
There are those who have been sitting on the fence, hoping for a change at the upcoming convention in June 2014.
Over the last few years, many have come to the realization that there will not be any substantial change in our party’s ideological direction. To those comrades who have seen the party change drastically from pro-Soviet, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to an anti-Leninist, social democratic accommodation to the bourgeois Democratic Party, we understand your frustration and disappointment.
The CPUSA, as we knew it, has deserted us.
Because of the closing of every bookstore around the country, the destruction of every mass organization that the Party built during the 70s (Women for Racial and Economic Equality, National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation, Trade Unionists for Action and Democracy (TUAD), the destruction of the printed edition of a party newspaper (The People’s World / Nuestro Mundo) and magazines (Political Affairs, Jewish Affairs, Black Liberation Journal), allowing the youth league to wither and its publication (Dynamic) to go out of existence, transformed from a rank and file driven, democratic centralist vanguard organization of workers into a top-heavy salaried bureaucracy of petty-bourgeois liberals, we finally realized that there was no turning back.
We were forced to make a difficult decision, which has been further validated by the condemnation of the new ideological direction of the 23rd St. faction by the leadership of the communist parties of Greece, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Zimbabwe, Hungary, Spain (PCPE) and others. Former and longtime CPUSA members around the country finally agreed that a new party formation was needed to continue the class struggle here in the United States. Those of us who uphold and support the Soviet experience and historic communist ideology are in the midst of regrouping.
Since 2011, many of us who had been long-time members of the CPUSA have been part of a movement to nationally coordinate a pre-party formation called the National Council of Communists USA (NCCUSA), with its ideological magazine, Ideological Fightback, its website http://ideologicalfightback.com/and its youth group, the League of Young Communists USA (LYCUSA). Our continuous growth has culminated in the understanding that the time is indeed ripe for the birth of a new Marxist Leninist party of the working class, agreeing to become the American affiliate of the international communist movement.
This has resulted in the launching of our newspaper,The Worker, and the birth of our new party name, Party of Communists, USA (PCUSA).
We will not abandon the struggle! We need your valuable experience and dedication.
We must continue to have Marxist-Leninist leadership in the American communist movement. Please contact us so we can continue to work together.
We look forward to working with you for a bright future of socialism in the USA.
Your comrades in the Party of Communists USA
En Marcha #1647
Organ of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
April 25 to May 1, 2014
A Note: We would like to thank comrade Claudio Buttinelli from Partito Comunista Italiano Marxista-Leninista, for sharing this extremely valuable document with us.
The world in the XXI century continues to be a separated world! The contradiction between the job and the capital subsists and embitters in all the sectors; in this contradiction there is the antagonism among the social character of production, from a side, and the private capitalistic form of the appropriation, that assembles more and more in a handful of usurpers, from the other. Continue reading “Manifesto for the XX anniversary of ICMLPO”
Dear Comrades and friends,
The latest issue of the Indian Marxist-Leninist journal,** The Communist** dated April 2014 is out. Continue reading “** The Communist** Number 1”
The attitude and position that a revolutionary communists should take towards working within the bourgeois parliamentary system and participation in elections, had been discussed since time of Marx and Engels and was well settled by the pronouncement of the Second Congress of the Comintern. Yet, due to both the right and left wing deviations that have come to grip the movement, particularly after the complete capitulation of the CPI/CPI-M to parliamentary cretinism on one hand and the ‘abstentionism’ being propagated by the CPI -Maoist and some other groups, under the sonorous revolutionary phrase-mongering of ‘active boycott’, terming that participation in elections itself amounts to class betrayal, the question has come to the fore again, at least in context of Indian Communist Movement. The boycottists advocate a somewhat deformed caricature of ‘Chinese Path’ to claim that the pronouncement of Comintern has become anachronistic to the present polity of India. And only an active boycott of this institution is the revolutionary discourse. Continue reading “Election or Revolution!”
All that glitters is not gold. There is much glitter and sound in Trotsky’s phrases, but they are meaningless. —-Lenin
There has been a well planned strategy by the Trotskyists to show that Trotskyism is nothing but continuation of Leninism. Over the years there has emerged a well oiled veritable industry ably assisted by the liberal bourgeoisie portraying that Trotsky was the successor of Lenin (some even stating that actually Lenin was a Trotskyist) and Trotskyism to be synonym of Marxism Leninism, who was deceitfully ousted by the cunning non Leninist oriental despot Stalin, Trotskyism profess his disciples, is the Leninist answer to the Stalinist betrayal of socialist principles. What they conveniently gloss over is the vacillation of Trotsky and his supporters throughout the course of the Russian revolution from one faction to another, in its course plagiarising from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction to another, his siding with the Menshevik, his hostility to Lenin and the Bolshevik party, and his struggles with Lenin and Bolsheviks after the October revolution. The emergence of internet and particularly the social media has given a fillip to the supporters of Trotsky, in churning ad-nauseam this propaganda to deceit the young and uninformed, and then to led them astray from the road of Marxism-Leninism. Continue reading “Trotskyism is not Leninism Part I”
Lenin on Keynes
This excerpt has been taken from Lenin’s report to the The Second Congress of the Communist International, highlights his thinking on world debt and his thoughts on Keynes.
The piece is still relevant amidst the backdrop of the economic crisis and the subsequent debt crisis that started in 2008 shows no signs of abetting. Globally the disenchantment with capitalism is growing, so is the yearning of the masses to sweep away old political and economic landmarks. World over we are seeing capitalism’s frantic effort to reinvigorate itself and the imperialist powers attempt to scuttle voice of dissent with increasing military ferocity. The Arab dream has turned into a nightmare thanks to the capitulationist position taken by the so-called ‘revolutionary’ leaders and the US imperialist’s new game to subjugate and divide the world. Yet on the other hand we are also witnessing a change where US no longer occupies the same unchallenged hegemony it held at the end of the Cold War. NATO is no longer a cohesive alliance, and the divisions in the Western imperialists are growing more and more to get the share of pie. The temporary successes of the counter-revolution in parts of Africa and Asia are a harsh reminder that imperialism still has been able to maintain its stranglehold in large part of the world and still we are living in the era of imperialism—the highest stage of capitalism. Continue reading “Lenin on Keynes”
By Stephen Gowans
It can’t be said that the media failed to mention it altogether, because The New York Times made passing reference to it on December 12 (Chemical Arms Used Repeatedly in Syria, U.N. Says).Other media outlets did too. They just didn’t give it much coverage.
The ‘it’ was the finding of the UN inspector mission in Syria that chemical weapons were used on two occasions against Syrian soldiers and on one occasion against soldiers and civilians (presumably by insurgents.) Continue reading “Under-Reported UN Investigation Points to Rebel Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria”
In a crass yet frank admission, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said the company’s new cancer drug, Nexavar, is not “for Indians,” but “for western patients who can afford it.” The statement came in the wake in a recent ruling by an Indian court that certain life-saving drugs could be produced and distributed at 97% of the brand-name price.
From Albania Today, 1984, 5
By Nexhmedin Dumani and Zydi Pepa – Economists
In all its policy pursued towards the question of the peasantry our partyhas been guided by the teachings of the classics of Marxism-Leninism, which it has implemented, defended and further developed in conformity with the concrete socio-economic conditions of our country.
Comrade Enver Hoxha has summed up the history of the centuries-long struggles, the socio-economic situation of the country in general and of the peasantry in particular, therefrom he reached the important conclusion that despite the backwardness of the agrarian relations, our country had “…a most revolutionary peasantry which has always been at the forefront of the struggle for the land, for freedom and independence.”1 He has pointed out the important progressive role of the peasantry in the struggle for freedom, independence and social progress, estimating the great revolutionary energies that lay latent in the ranks of the Albanian peasantry, “in favour of that class which had the peasantry on its side”.2 This definition was basic in the work of the Party for the building of the strategy and tactics in the National Liberation War and in construction of the socialist society.
In the conditions in which the working class constituted a very small section of the population, the effort to secure a powerful revolutionary ally, as was the numerous working peasantry had special and decisive importance for the fates of the National Liberation War. On this basis the Party created the political-military alliance of the working class with the working peasantry during the war. The Party instructed that special importance must be attached to the Party work in the countryside, because the peasantry constituted the majority of our people, therefore the countryside should be the source of the main forces for the liberation war.
The political-military alliance of the working class with the peasantry, created during the National Liberation War, was further strengthened and consolidated after the liberation of the country also in the economic field, which after the triumph of the people’s revolution was the main field of the struggle. All the measures adopted by the Party alter the liberation of the country for the revival of the economy, the implementation of the Land Reform and the socialist transformation of agriculture, have been guided by Comrade Enver Hoxha’s teaching that, “socialism is not built only in the town, just for the working class, but also in the countryside and for the peasantry as well.”3 This thesis of principle has been and remains one of the most important links which has guaranteed the successful construction of socialism in our country.
At the liberation of the country agriculture, like all the other sectors of the economy, was in a state of marked backwardness. Only 10.2 per cent of the arable area was cultivated and 10 per cent of this was irrigable. In the structure of crops, cereals occupied 83.5 per cent of the acreage and Albania still never secured all the bread grain supply for the people. The land was worked with primitive methods; mechanized means, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, selected seeds, etc., were almost unknown. The motor draught power accounted for just 0.8 per cent of the total draught power of the country.4 The best lands and most of the land was in the hands of big landowners, the landed bourgeoisie and the landowner-bourgeois state, which jointly owned 39.8 per cent of the acreage of arable land, at a time when 13.9 per cent5 of the peasant families of the country were landless.
In these conditions, the primary problem was the revolutionary transformation of the old agrarian relations, because “Democracy cannot be otherwise conceived, because there is no democracy without carrying out large-scale social, economic, political and cultural reforms and, in the first place, without carrying out the Land Reform, especially in a country like ours, in which feudalism existed in its most savage form, in which the peasants were exploited by the landowning beyes.”6 In the conditions of our country the carrying out of the land reform was an imperative dictated by the need to solve the antagonistic contradiction between the working peasantry and the big landowners. That was a major democratic transformation that remained to be done in agriculture.
The classics of Marxism-Leninism have defined two roads for the solution of this problem: either through the nationalization of the whole of the land, or through the confiscation of the lands owned by the big landed proprietors and their distribution to the landless and land-poor peasants for their personal use. They have pointed out that the nationalization of the land is a social condition necessary for ensuring the development and progress of agriculture. Lenin wrote that the land should become the property of the whole people…7 On the other hand, Lenin pointed out that in the conditions of the countries in which the feeling of the private ownership of the land is strong, the proletarian state should not liquidate the private ownership of the land immediately.
From the analysis of the socio-economic relations which dominated in our countryside, the Party and Comrade Enver Hoxha reached the correct conclusion that in the conditions of our country it was better the apply the method of the confiscation of the land of big proprietors and its distribution to the landless and land-poor peasants for their personal use, through the enactment of the land reform.
The carrying out of the Land Reform according to the principle “the land belongs to the tiller”, prohibition of the buying, leasing, alienation, mortgaging and transfer by deed, etc. of the land, all this constitutes a creative implementation of the fundamental theses of Marxism-Leninism on this problem. Comrade Enver Hoxha says: “We did not proclaim the nationalization of the land because this would not be understood correctly by our peasantry, in which the petty-bourgeois feeling of private ownership of the land was very strong. We promulgated some laws to the effect that the peasant had not the right to alienate the land, thereby he was barred from the right to sell, to exchange, and transform it. Thus, although we did not proclaim the nationalization of the land de jure, .we had nationalized it de facto with the gradual measures we took”.8
The Land Reform was a genuine agrarian revolution both in content and form, and in the methods of its implementation, because it definitively liquidated the leftovers from feudalism in the economy.
The Land Reform in our country was a deep-going reform of the kind that can be carried out only when the working class is in power. It was carried out within a short time, in a revolutionary way and through revolutionary methods and in the conditions of a stern class struggle. It was carried out by the working masses of the countryside, led by the working class and its Party. In the Land Reform the peasants “…saw that in fact they were in power, that the Party and the state showed a great care for them, were interested in them. This encouraged the peasant who realized his own strength, built up the confiscation that just as he had won in the war under the leadership of the Party, so he could score other successes with the Party in the leadership.”9
All this made the Land Reform an important preliminary measure for the socialist transformation of agriculture. The Law on the Land Reform specifies that no one has the right the sell or buy the land. This was a question of principle on which the future collectivisation of agriculture would be based.
Carrying out of the Land Reform created the condition to begin the socialist transformation of the countryside. The only read for socialism to be built in the countryside was the establishment of the socialist relations of production, the replacement of the private ownership of the land by the large-scale socialist ownership. The Party of Labour kept in mind the teachings of Lenin who said that “the distribution of the land to the peasants in a good beginning. It must be used to show that the land can be taken from the landowners and be transferred to the hands of the peasants. But this is not enough. The way out is the collective work of the land.”10
The building of socialism necessarily requires the socialist transformation of agriculture, too. Comrade Enver Hoxha says, “The Party is aware that our state cannot base itself on two different economic bases for a long time: on the socialist sector of the economy in the towns and on private sector of small producers in the countryside. Therefore, the creation al the socialist sector also, in agriculture is an historical necessity for the triumph of socialism.”l1
The transformation on a socialist basis of the small private economies cannot be realized by the same methods and means and on the same roads as those through which the socialist socialization of the main means of production was carried out in industry. Therefore, the Party instructed that it would be extremely dangerous to proceed with the creation of the socialist sector in the countryside along the same lines as in the towns, through the expropriation of all the economies of small-scale peasant producers. From the start, basing itself on the immortal teachings of the great Lenin, the Party has stressed that the building of socialism in the countryside would be carried out by gradually organizing the small peasant economies into large-scale collective economies, on the basis of the peasants’ free will, on the road of the socialist transformation of agriculture.
The road of the expropriation and nationalization of the means of production, which was property of small producers is unacceptable, not only in the beginning, when the working class has just taken political power, but also in the further process of the socialist construction. This road leads to the weakening of the alliance of the working class with the peasantry.
On this very important question, the Party of Labour and Comrade Enver Hoxha based themselves on the teachings of V. I. Lenin, who has pointed out that in the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the existence of the socialist social ownership of the main means of production, co-operation is the most suitable, the most acceptable, the most understandable, the most advantageous road for changing the small-scale private economies into large-scale socialist economies.
The forty-year long experience of the construction of socialism in our country has confirmed that the socialist transformation of agriculture cannot be realized without ensuring the leading role of the working class and its Party, because it is the party which makes the peasantry conscious of the need to set out of its own will on the road of collectivization, which transforms the consciousness, the world outlook and psychology of the peasant, and which constitutes the guarantee for the success of this revolutionary process. For this reason, from the first steps taken for the collectivization of agriculture, Comrade Enver Hoxha instructed, “The conviction of the poor and middle peasants about the need for passing from the individual small-scale economies, over to the large-scale united cooperativist socialist economies and about the advantages of the latter will be achieved only through a great deal of political and organizational work by the organs of our Party.
“Without ceaseless work in this direction, even if the cooperatives are set up, they will be dissolved again or will always remain weak.”12
The ensuring and continuous strengthening of the leading role of the Party both during the creation of the cooperativist order and in the continuous strengthening of the socialist relations in them is considered by the Party as a vital necessity for carrying out the revolution and building socialism in the countryside.
The classics of Marxism-Leninism have stressed that the transition to the collective work on the land can be done only on a voluntary basis, that the duty of the working class, which has state power in its hands, towards the small and middle peasants, is first of all, to ensure that their private mode of production and their private ownership should become collective, not by compulsion, but through the example and by giving them social assistance for this purpose. Taking account of these teachings, the Party of Labour instructed since 1947 that the question of the peasant working cooperatives is an important and delicate question, too, and the peasants should by no means be compelled against their will to join the cooperatives, because not only is this not advisable but it is also harmful. The peasant must be convinced about joining the cooperative on his own.
Both during the setting up of the agricultural cooperatives, and later, in the process of the improvement of the socialist relations of production in the countryside, in the great work for the unification of the agricultural cooperatives, the transformation of some of them into higher-type cooperatives and some higher-type cooperatives into state farms, in the improvement of the forms of organization anti management, etc., the PLA has relied on the will of the peasantry. On the other hand, it has combated the views of all kinds of revisionists, who misinterpreting this Leninist principle, raising it to a fetish, wanted to leave the process of the socialist collectivization of the countryside completely to spontaneity, subject to the operation of the laws of market relations.
Speaking of the necessity of combining the principle of voluntarism in the process of the collectivization of agriculture with its conscious direction by the Party, Comrade Enver Hoxha points out: “…we may be told that by planning the collectivization of agriculture we are violating the Leninist principle of voluntarism. We are not violating this principle in any way…. Hence, without violating the Leninist principles on collectivisation, we may make forecasts and so collectivization proceed according to plan in the plains.”13
As our experience has confirmed, the socialist collectivization of small producers in the countryside is carried out through the class struggle, which has its objective causes and serves as the main motive force in this process. The Party has pursued a revolutionary class policy in the waging of the class struggle in the countryside in the right direction. After analysing and correctly determining the social groups of the peasantry, the Party relied on the poor peasants in alliance with the middle peasants, and took measures for the political isolation, economic restriction and liquidation of the rich peasants (kulaks).
Basing himself on the teachings of Lenin on the criteria of identifying the kulaks as a class, Comrade Enver Hoxha formulated the characteristics of the kulaks in Albania. This formulation served as the basis for building up the policy of differentiating the social groups and for waging the class struggle in the countryside. In connection with this problem, he says: “The Land Reform in most cases left the kulak only part of his lands, which is equal with the acreage which the middle peasant hnd. But we can in no way distinguish the kulak by the acreage of land he possesses today; a kulak is said to be such judging from the means of production, the draught animals, implements or work, he has the house in which he lives, the size of his stalls, barns and granary, etc. But the main characteristic remains what Lenin says: “The exploitation of hired labourers or servants who the kulak employs even for a short period…” The kulak is also identified on the basis of his distant and recent past, the views he held in the past, his relations with the beys and his men, his old possessions, the means of production, his trade and speculation on the black market. The past does not exonerate the kulak, this must not be neglected when we describe him as such.”14
The struggle against the kulak should be waged correctly without confusing him with the middle peasant or taking the middle peasant for a kulak. Comrade Enver Hoxha has stressed, “It is a grave mistake to allow any weakening of the stern class struggle in the countryside, however, it is another just as grave mistake to qualify the middle peasants, who should be the allies of the poor peasants in the struggle against kulaks, for what they are not – as kulaks.”15
From the 1st Congress the Party issued the directive: “Cooperation is a new sector of the agricultural economy on a socialist basis. The Party and the state will do everything to enlarge it with all-round material, organizational, instructive and political cultural assistance.”16
The PLA not only has given this sector all-round aid, but has considered that the aid to be given this sector is a great political matter, because through this aid the further strengthening of the alliance of the working class with the working peasantry is ensured, the hegemonic role of the working class is guaranteed in practice, the working peasantry is drawn on to the road of collectivization and strengthening of the cooperativist order.
In order to give practical solution to the requirements deriving from this principle, the PLA orientated the development of the national economy towards the development of industry with priority and within it to the branches of heavy industry, because the latter is in a position to create the possibilities for the town to give thorough technical and social aid to the backward and fragmented country, to create the material basis for a very considerable increase of the productivity of labour in agriculture and in the peasant economy, in general, thus stimulating the small peasants, through the strength of the example, to go over to the large-scale collective agriculture with machines.
By accepting the great role of the development of industry in creating the material-technical base of agriculture, in the socialist transformation of the countryside, by taking measures for its development and strengthening, the PLA has at the same time, combated the views of the Yugoslav revisionists who claim that the collectivization of agriculture should begin after the complete industrialization of the country. These views of the Yugoslav revisionists, which are a variant of the anti-Marxist thesis that socialism emerges spontaneously due to the high level of development of the productive forces, are aimed at importalizing the domination of capitalist relations.
In order to assist the cooperativist sector, our socialist state has adopted all-round measures for the creation, extension and strengthening of the machine and tractor stations with agricultural machines, cadres and specialists. The state participates with its means in large-scale investments for land improvement schemes, irrigation, draining, opening of new lands, the systematization of the land, the linking up to all villages with telephone, the development of education, culture and health services in the countryside, which favour the development of the agricultural cooperatives.
But the PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha have continuously demanded that the state aid for the development and strengthening of the cooperativist order should be correctly understood from its political aspect, because, here too, as for any other problem, the decisive thing is the collective work of the peasants, reliance on their own forces. The PLA has combated the concepts that the agricultural cooperatives should expect everything from the state.
The correct definition of the most suitable form of collectivization and the stages through which this problem would be solved, have great theoretical and practical importance for the socialist transformation of the small and middle producers of the countryside.
While attaching importance to the lower forms of cooperation, such as those in the field of circulation (buyers and sellers’ cooperatives), which played an important role in the preparation of the conditions for passing over to higher forms of cooperation, for disseminating the idea of collectivization in the field of production among the ranks of the peasantry, the PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha have at the same time, orientated the collectivization of agriculture towards the agricultural cooperatives of production, The general acceptance by the peasantry of the Party’s orientation for passing over directly to the stage of the agricultural cooperatives of production, as Comrade Enver Hoxha has said, was determined by the fact that the working peasantry had created a lofty political consciousness and had unshaken confidence in the correctness of the line of the Party, confidence which was created during the National Liberation War and later through the measures which the Party adopted in favour of the peasantry, such as the Land Reform, etc.
Besides deciding the suitable form of cooperation, the PLA has also correctly determined the stages through which this process was to be carried out, as well as the tasks that must be confronted and measures that must be taken in each stage. By dividing the process of collectivization in our country into two main stages, which cover the periods 1946-1955 and 1956- 1967, the PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha had to fight both the views for unduly hastening the setting up of agricultural cooperatives, and the views which tried to inhibit this process in an artificial manner. It is a fact that among the countries where the regime of people’s democracy was established after the Second World War, Albania entered sooner, with greater determination and consistently, on the road of the socialist transformation of the country. But in this rapid advance it did not discard anything of the Leninist concept of the stages of the revolution. The only thing we discarded were the Yugoslav theories together with the sinister aims which were hidden behind them, and which we foiled.
The Party defined correctly the slogan of the first stage, according to which in the collectivisation of agriculture, “…we must neither hasten, nor mark time”, with the aim of ensuring the economic-organizational strengthening of the agricultural cooperatives so that they showed in practice their indisputable superiority over the individual peasant economy, and gain the necessary experience to proceed more rapidly with the socialist collectivisation of agriculture in general. Comrade Enver Hoxha has stressed, “Our task… is to strengthen the existing cooperatives, and not to increase them, that is, our aim is not quantity but quality. The rapid increase of numbers brings great dangers if we do not prepare the ground well and do not lay sound bases for this.”17 From the year 1946 to 1955 there were 318 cooperatives comprising 9.8 per cent of the peasant families and 11.4 per cent of the arable land.18
The 3rd Congress of the PLA, held in May 1950 set the task for the collectivization of agriculture in general to be completed within the 2nd Five-Year Plan, primarily in the plains zone and partly in the hilly zones. The number of new agriculture cooperatives set up in 1956 was 563, or about twice as many as had been set up in the first preparatory stage. Until 1959 about 83 per cent of the arable land in the possession of the peasants was collectivized.19 The year 1960 marked the successful conclusion, in general, of the socialist collectivization of the small and middle producers, the establishment of socialist relations, the building of the economic base of socialism, in the countryside. After 1960, collectivization was extended in the mountainous zones, and finally covered the whole country in 1967.
The successful conclusion of the socialist collectivization of the small and middle producers of the countryside in Albania was the second revolution, the most radical revolutionary change in the socio-economic relations in the countryside. It liquidated the basis of the antagonistic contradictions between town and countryside, opened the road for the development of agriculture at rapid rates along with industry, for raising the material and cultural level of the peasantry, for strengthening and consolidating the alliance of the working class with the working peasantry, for solving the contradiction between the political superstructure and the economic base.
Analysing the economic and social situation of the .countryside after the completion of the socialist collectivization of agriculture, the PLA reached the correct conclusion that the establishment of the socialist relations in the countryside does not mark the ending of the socialist transformation of agriculture, that this is a long process which comprises a series of revolutionary changes of a social, economic, technical, cultural and ideological character. In these conditions the problem of the further deepening of the socialist transformation of agriculture was an objective necessity which was dictated by the new stage of the historical development of our country – the complete construction of the socialist society.
After the collectivization of the whole countryside, it was necessary to proceed uninterruptedly with the improvement of the socialist relations of production with revolutionary methods, to ensure an impetuous development of the productive forces, the material-technical base of agriculture. Therefore, the 4th Congress of the PLA orientated the development of agriculture on the road of intensification.
Conceiving the intensification of agriculture as a planned rational and harmonized development on scientific bases of complex factors – human, material, agro-technical and natural, which condition the agricultural production, the Party and Comrade Enver Hoxha have correctly determined the priorities of its development of the zones, sectors, branches and crops in conformity with the development of agriculture and the tasks it has had in each stage of the country’s socio-economic development. In this way, by giving priority to the intensification of the plains zone, the Party has not neglected the hilly and mountainous zones, On the other hand, while giving priority to the production of bread grain, it has, at the same time, fought for and measured the complex and harmonious development of the agriculture and the tasks it has had in each stage of the country’s socio-economic development. In this way, by giving priority to the intensification of the plains zone, the Party has not neglected the hilly and mountainous zones. On the other hand, while giving priority to the production of bread grain, it has, at the same time, fought for and secured the complex and harmonious development of the agricultural production on a broad front.
The process of the intensification of agriculture in our country, with the main part of the population and work force situated in the countryside, when our country has already set out on the road of its transformation into an industrial-agrarian country with developed industry and advanced agriculture, constitutes another important contribution to the theory and practice of the socialist transformation of agriculture and of the socialist construction of the country in general.
In opposition to the practices of the capitalist and revisionist countries, in which the intensification of agriculture has been accompanied with the mass depopulation of the village, in our country the intensification of agriculture is conditioned by a high level of population of the countryside. Comrade Enver Hoxha has said: “We march on the road of the intensification of agricultural production in the conditions when we continue to increase the work force in agriculture from the population of the countryside and parlly from that of the towns. Likewise, we are implementing with success the policy of the continuous narrowing of the distinctions between town and countryside. Advancing on this road is a great success in the interest of the whole society, a thing which does not occur anywhere else in the world, where the village population is drained and agriculture is degrading.”20
By giving priority to the development of the productive forces through the intensification of agriculture, the Party has emphasized the need to continuously improve the socialist relations in the countryside in a revolutionary manner.
The PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha have consistently followed the dialectics of mutual connections between the forces of production and the relations of production, have taken timely measures and defined correct directions for the improvement of these relations in all their aspects and constituent elements. In this aspect, our Party has remained loyal to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and has explored new roads and paths.
The classics of Marxism-Leninism have stressed that the complete construction of socialism in the countryside requires the transformation of the group ownership into state ownership. In this direction, the teachings of Comrade Enver Hoxha about the setting up of the higher-type agricultural cooperatives, the criteria and the conditions required for the agricultural cooperatives to be changed into state farms, as well as those which have to do with the treatment of the problem of the cooperativists personal plot and personal livestock as a special kind of personal property in socialism, have special importance in theory and practice.
In order to realize these important tasks our Party has proceeded carefully, in conformity with the development of the productive forces in general and those of the countryside in particular, in order to prepare the necessary socio-economic and ideological-political conditions. Thus, along with the process of the socialist collectivization of small and middle producers in the countryside, the Party adopted measures to raise the socialization of the group ownership to a higher level, through the voluntary union of the agricultural cooperatives. This process developed gradually, in struggle against the tendencies to hastening it unduly and giving priority to the plains zone in the beginning, and to the hilly-mountainous zones later.
A further step ahead in the improvement of the socialist relations of ownership in the countryside was the creation of the higher-type cooperatives. The setting up of such cooperatives marked a new step on the road of the changing of the cooperativist ownership into the ownership of the entire people. At the 6th Congress of the PLA Comrade Enver Hoxha stressed: “The creation of the higher-type cooperatives has great theoretical and practical importance for the present and future of our socialist agriculture – the complete construction of socialism in the countryside.”21 The theoretical importance of the creation of the higher-type agricultural cooperatives lies in the fact that with them a new higher form of the development of the ownership of the group was discovered. The transition of the agricultural cooperatives into state farms cannot be realized without going through another form more advanced than the ordinary type of the agricultural cooperative.
The PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha orientates that, in the beginning, the higher type cooperatives should be created from the stronger cooperatives of the plain zone, because precisely in this group of economics of the plains the condition had matured for such a change and because they could prove their superiority as a new higher form of the development of the group ownership. The result achieved in these years by the higher type cooperatives proved in practice the correctness of the line of the Party. In the 7th Five-Year Plan they have extended in other zones of the country, thus becoming a massive phenomenon in the process of the building of socialism in the countryside.
A distinguishing feature of the higher-type cooperatives is that the state participates with non-return investments in the objects of the productive sphere, thus becoming co-owner with the cooperatives, creating in this manner a combination of the two forms of socialist ownership.
The ideas and teachings of Comrade Enver Hoxha on the conditions which the higher-type cooperatives should meet in order to be transformed into state farms, the most appropriate time of their conversion into state farms, the solution of the problem of the cooperativists pay, the objects comprised in the payment system, the occupation with work of the additional work force in these cooperatives, the problems which have to do with the cooperativists’ personal plot and livestock in the cooperatives which are to be changed into state farms, etc., have theoretical and practical importance for the further development of the process of the socialist transformation of agriculture.
Another important factor for the improvement of the relations in the field of ownership in the countryside, are the measures the Party has adopted for the reduction of the cooperativists’ personal plot of land and the formation of collective herds from the cooperativist personal livestock. The cooperativists’ personal plot of land, as an economic fact, emerged together with the collectivization of agriculture. The cooperativists’ personal plot is a compensating auxiliary economy of a temporary character, for personal consumption. With the ever better fulfilment of the needs of the cooperativist families, with the raising of the level of their well-being, the cooperativists plot should be gradually reduced until it disappear completely in a given stage. Comrade Enver Hoxha says: “If we achieve abundance in the cooperative, that is, if the peasant sees that he gets most of the income from the cooperative and not from the cooperativists’ personal plot and when he actually, and not in words, has the possibility to buy milk, meat, vegetables, fruits, etc. from the cooperative only then he will realize that his own personal plot is a stumbling block.”22
In our country the personal plot of the cooperativists has kept shrinking, with the result that the role of this economy as complementary to the needs of the cooperativist family has also been limited.
The modem revisionists, with the Soviet revisionists at their head, consider the cooperativists’ personal plot not only as a fact that does not tend to disappear, but, on the contrary, regard it as an indispensable phenomenon which must be further developed and extended, not only in the countryside but also in the towns. At the 8th Congress of the PLA, Comrade Enver Hoxha has pointed out: “In the Soviet Union and elsewhere, the existing form of collective capitalism is now associated, to a large degree, with direct forms of private property. The individual private economies are regarded by the revisionists as a main source for the production of meat, milk and other agricultural products, moreover, they are even being given the animals of the kolkhozes and sovkhozes to feed and raise, thus liquidating any trace of the socialist system in the countryside. This is the course that has led the agriculture of many of these countries, in which the shortage of food and agricultural raw materials has become one of the most serious problems for the life of the working masses today, into a profound crisis.”23
The perfecting of the relations of distribution, and especially those which have to do with the remuneration of work, occupy a special place in the work of the Party for the further strengthening and deepening of the process of socialist transformation of agriculture. Assessing correctly the decisive role of production as the basis on which the standard of living is raised, the Party has, at the same time, assessed correctly the active role of distribution over production and consumption, therefore, it has continuously paid great attention to it. In all the stages of the socialist construction of the countryside the Party has established such forms of distribution which respond to the development of the productive forces and the degree of consciousness of the working people of agriculture. It has devoted special care to perfecting the distribution of agricultural and livestock production, of bread grain in particular, maintaining correct proportions between the needs for the extended reproduction, the general needs of the state and the needs for the cooperativists’ personal consumption. Alongside these, attention has been attached to the distribution of the incomes realized in the agricultural cooperatives, dividing it into accumulation fund and consumption fund. It has fought the manifestations of creating the accumulation fund at the expense of the consumption fund, as well as the manifestations of the creation of the consumption fund at the expense of the accumulation fund, and the unjustified use of the fund of accumulation for building untimely projects, etc. The Party, with its correct, farsighted policy, has brought about the uninterrupted development of the cooperativist order and the uplift of the material and cultural well-being of the working peasantry.
Special care has been devoted to improving the remuneration according to the amount and quality of the work done. The forms of remuneration of work in agriculture have been improved continuously. The form of remuneration in kind for the cooperativists was overcome, and we are gradually proceeding to the elimination of the work-day as a measure of compensation, through its replacement with payment against work quota.
The uninterrupted development of the productive forces in agriculture, the deepening and intensification of agricultural production all over the country, in general, and in the plains zones, in particular, the combination of the state relations with those of the agricultural cooperatives has been considered and treated in close connection with the needs for the further improvement of the relations of exchange. Simultaneously, the uninterrupted improvement of the relations of exchange is necessary for opening the road more broadly to the development of the productive forces and the preparation of the conditions for the gradual transition to the voluntary transformation of the group property into the property of the entire people in a natural manner. The improvement of the relations of production in the countryside in the field of exchange, as in all other fields, is handled in such a manner as to ensure the gradual extension of the sphere of the relations of state ownership and the narrowing of the sphere of the relations of cooperativist ownership.
The important ideas Comrade Enver Hoxha has given for the passing, to a more extensive and higher scale, over to concentration and cooperation, the amplication of agricultural-crop rotation not only inside individual agricultural economies, but also in groups of economies, even beyond the limits of present-day administrative divisions, the gradual transition of planning in the agricultural cooperatives included in the zone of priority intensification from the form of recommendations to the form of directives, the unification of the system of planned indices of the agricultural cooperatives with those of the state farms, the strengthening of state check-up on the process of the fulfilment of the plan, on the utilisation of incomes, on expenditure, etc., the improvement of the forms of internal organisation of work and production in agricultural cooperatives towards the forms which are used in the state sector of agriculture, the deepening of specialization through the elimination of some activities which are carried out by the cooperatives and some other enterprises, the improvement of the distribution of agricultural production among the districts and within the districts, etc., these constitute some important theoretical and practical directions in the field of the improvement of the relations of management and organization of work and production in the countryside.
Terraces of fruit trees – vines, olives, citruses and agricultural crops
are cut out on the slopes of the hills and mountains of Albania
The results achieved by the Albanian agriculture show in practice the correctness and vitality of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, the correctness of the line and policy worked out and pursued by the PLA and Comrade Enver Hoxha for the socialist transformation and development of the countryside.
At the 8th Congress of the PLA, Comrade Enver Hoxha said: “The revolutionary transformations and the progress achieved in agriculture represent one of the greatest victories of the line and policy of the Party for the construction of socialism. The fact that during nearly four decades of the people’s state power agricultural production in general in our country has continued to increase about two times more rapidly than the population, that the real per capita income of the peasantry has gone up to 10 to 20 per cent from one five-year plan to another, that now, as compared with 1960, agricultural production has increased 1.7 times per unit of arable land and 1.6 times per agricultural worker, is clear evidence of the correctness of this policy.”24
1 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 22, p. 371, Alb. ed.
2 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 17, p. 434, Alb. ed.
3 Enver Hoxha, Report to the 7th Congress of the PLA, p. 64, Eng. ed.
4 Statistical Yearbook of the PRA, year 1973, pp. 113, 119, 171.
5 Statistical Yearbook of the PRA, year 1959, p. 84.
6 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 3, p. 86, Alb. ed.
7 V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. vol. 27, p. 538, Alb. ed.
8 Enver Hoxha, On the 7th Five-Year Plan, p. 415, Alb. ed.
9 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 5, p. 343, Alb. ed.
10 V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 28, p. 188, Alb. ed.
11 Enver Hoxha, About Socialist Agriculture, vol. 1, Tirana 1980, p. 445, Alb. ed.
12 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 5, p. 353, Alb. ed.
13 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 13, p. 106, Alb. ed.
14 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 6, p. 17, Alb. ed.
15 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 9, p. 66, Alb. ed.
16 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 5, p. 345, Alb. ed.
17 Enter Hoxha, Works, vol. 8, p. 202, Alb. ed.
18 Statistical Yearbook of the PRA, year 1958, p. 55.
19 Statistical Yearbook of the PRA, year 1960, p. 87.
20 Enver Hoxha, Reports and Speeches 1980-1981 p. 187, Alb. ed.
21 Enver Hoxha, Report to the 6th Congress of the PLA, p. 81, Alb. ed.
22 Enver Hoxha, Works, vol. 18, p. 344, Alb. ed.
23 Enver Hoxha, Report to the 8th Congress of the PLA, p, 41, Eng. ed.
24 Ibidem, pp. 28-29, Eng. ed.
Swaziland — one of the world’s most poor country, ruled by a despot Mswati III, who has amassed disgusting amount wealth while his people wallow in poverty.
In 2012, Swaziland’s economic growth remained one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), despite a marked increase in the SACU revenues. Although official estimates put real gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 0.2%, it is estimated that the economy marginally contracted by 0.3%
Below is a statement from Swaziland Solidarity Network on the conditions of the country.
— Editor Other Aspect
By People in favour of a People’s Democratic Republic on Swaziland
SSN END OF YEAR STATEMENT
21st December, 2013
The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] wishes the entire Mass Democratic Movement, and the Swazi nation, a happy festive season, a time to reflect and refresh in preparation for another year of struggle against King Mswati’s brutal dictatorship.
The year 2013 was a disappointing year on the battle front as few recognizable advances were recorded in the struggle against the Monarchical dictatorship. While the two preceding years, 2011 and 2012, yielded mass demonstrations by various organizations within the Mass democratic Movement, this year there were little or none.
This, unfortunately, coincided with the pseudo-elections which the country’s dictatorship uses to hoodwink the nation into thinking that it has a hand in the creation of the country’s government. Despite conducting a peaceful, yet worthless, election the King Mswati regime went on to oversee the systematic reduction of essential social services to the population, while continuing to enrich itself.
POOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE
The Swazi economy continues to perform poorly and currently ranks as the slowest growing economy in the Southern African region. This is a result of King Mswati’s lack of economic nous, his greed and rampant corruption within the government.
Swaziland’s desperation to pay its civil servants in 2012 provided the clearest indication that the country is a Banana kingdom. With its head of state reduced to a beggar who flew from Swaziland to Pretoria to beg for a bail-out from another developing state, Swaziland was on the verge of total collapse. While a more responsible government would have used this experience to change its spending habits, for Swaziland this was not the case.
As a result, as soon as the country received a windfall from the South African Customs Union [SACU], the first thing its authorities did was look to buy a new aeroplane to justify its empty billion Emalangeni white elephant airport. There are also plans of building a new billion Emalangeni convention centre and hotel. This unfortunately entails reducing the resources set aside for important social needs which every developing country needs to prioritize on.
This skewed spending pattern unfortunately widens the gap between Swaziland’s richest man, King Mswati, and the rest of the population. This is the desired result, which is meant to keep the nation under royal control by the systematic creation of two classes, one rich royal family and poverty stricken population of “commoners”.
A DICTATORSHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME
Ever since Swaziland’s monarch, Mswati, first understood the words “democracy” and “dictatorship”, very late in his adult life, he has attempted by all means to be associated with the latter, even using dictatorial means ironically.
Creating the smoke-screen of a constituency-based parliament, known in Siswati as Tinkhundla was his father’s gift to him. When this parliament was exposed as nothing more than an empty powerless institution, the king’s spin doctors resorted to word-play, calling the system a “unique democracy”, this also did little to hide the harsh realities of the dictatorship.
The adoption of a new constitution after four decades of royal rule by decree was the second attempt by the new king to present itself as “democratic”. This constitution, as expected, was nothing by an extensively coded decree. This year the king resorted to more word-play when he christened his dictatorship a “Monarchial Democracy”.
It is a phrase that is pushed down the throat of every Swazi who is part of the government as all members of the powerless parliament are expected to acquaint themselves with this old philosophy with a new name tag. It has been further reported that the king has commissioned the publication of a book which explains this system in detail.
Fortunately, all these desperate attempts to window-dress the monarchy have failed to achieve their intended purpose as neither the nation nor international observers are convinced of its democratic credentials. If anything, it exposed the fact that the king is vulnerable to the opinions of the Mass Democratic Movement and spends sleepless nights attempting to conceal his misrule and dictatorship.
THE STRUGGLE MUST CONTINUE
The most important attributes of any struggle are “consistency” and “evolution”. This means that the struggle must continue consistently, evolving to suit the times. In this regard, the Swazi struggle has shown great promise as new and more effective methods of engaging with the masses continue to be undertaken and tried and tested methods of putting pressure on the regime are adopted.
The year 2014 should not resemble the current year which can best be described as a ceasefire. King Mswati must not rest as the democratic forces use every method; in every corner of the country to bring hasten the inevitable demise of the Monarchial dictatorship.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS NEVER DIE, THEY MULTIPLY
While the world celebrated the life of Comrade Nelson Mandela, king Mswati and his followers were busy performing rituals to strengthen their grip on power. Our network finds it appropriate that this dictator was not present at the sending off of Africa’s greatest statesman. Mswati’s presence in such a historic funeral would have spoilt a very serious occasion.
What was unfair and completely absurd is the jealousy he exhibited by banning all memorials in honour of Nelson Mandela. Our network condemns the manner in which the Swaziland United Democratic Front [SUDF] was forced to conduct its prayer service in honour of Mandela in the streets as the Royal Swazi Police barred them from holding the prayer in a Lutheran church in Manzini.
We once again wish our Swazi comrades a year of fruitful struggle. It is not just a cliché, but a well documented fact that a revolution is not an event but a process. Thus every single act, event or even lack of action against the king Mswati dictatorship only brings the nation closer to democracy. The forces of democracy should therefore focus on being through in their work, in as much as we all want the King Mswati dictatorship to end immediately.
Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]
Lucky Lukhele- Spokesperson
+72 502 4141
Garveyism, or Negro Zionism, rose on the crest of the wave of discontent and revolutionary ferment which swept the capitalist world as a result of the post-war crisis.
Increased national oppression of the Negroes, arising out of the post-war crisis, together with the democratic slogans thrown out by the liberal-imperialist demagogues during the World War (right of self-determination for all nations, etc.) served to bring to the surface the latent national aspirations of the Negro masses. These aspirations were considerably strengthened with the return of the Negro workers and poor farmers who had been conscripted to “save the world for democracy.” These returned with a wider horizon, new perspectives of human rights and a new confidence in themselves as a result of their experiences and disillusionment in the war. Their return strengthened the morale of the Negro masses and stiffened their resistance. So-called race riots took the place of lynching bees and massacres. The Negro masses were fighting back. In addition, many of the more politically advanced of the Negro workers were looking to the example of the victorious Russian proletariat as the way out of their oppression. The conviction was growing that the proletarian revolution in Russia was the beginning of a world-wide united movement of down-trodden classes and oppressed peoples. Even larger numbers of the Negro masses were becoming more favorable toward the revolutionary labor movement.
Distortion of National Revolutionary Movement
by the Reformists
This growing national revolutionary sentiment was seized upon by the Negro petty bourgeoisie, under the leadership of the demagogue, Marcus Garvey, and diverted into utopian, reactionary, “Back to Africa” channels. There were various other reformist attempts to formulate the demands of the Negro masses and to create a program of action which would appeal to all elements of the dissatisfied Negro people. None of these met with even the partial and temporary success which greeted the Garvey movement.
The leadership of the Garvey Movement consisted of the poorest stratum of the Negro intellectuals – declassed elements, struggling business men and preachers, lawyers without a brief, etc. – who stood more or less close to the Negro masses and felt sharply the effects of the crisis. The movement represented a split-away from the official Negro bourgeois leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which even then was already linked up with the imperialists.
The main social base of the movement was the Negro agricultural workers and the farming masses groaning under the terrific oppression of peonage and share cropper slavery, and the backward sections of the Negro industrial workers, for the most part recent migrants from the plantations into the industrial centers of the North and South. These saw in the movement an escape from national oppression, a struggle for Negro rights throughout the world, including freedom from the oppression of the southern landlords and for ownership of the land. To the small advanced industrial Negro proletariat, who were experienced in the class struggle, the Garvey movement had little appeal.
While the movement never had the millions organizationally enrolled that its leaders claimed, it did have in 1921, at the time of its second congress, nearly 100,000 members on its books, as revealed in an analysis made by W. A. Domingo of the deliberately confused financial statement given by the leadership to the delegates at the Second Congress. Moreover, the movement exercised a tremendous ideological influence over millions of Negroes outside its ranks.
Reflected Militancy of the Masses in Its Early Stages
The movement began as a radical petty bourgeois national movement, reflecting to a great extent in its early stages the militancy of the toiling masses, and in its demands expressing their readiness for struggle against oppression in the United States. From the very beginning there were two sides inherent to the movement: a democratic side and a reactionary side. In the early stage the democratic side dominated. To get the masses into the movement, the national reformist leaders were forced to resort to demagogy. The pressure of the militant masses in the movement further forced them to adopt progressive slogans. The program of the first congress was full of militant demands expressing the readiness for struggle in the United States.
A Negro mass movement with such perspectives was correctly construed by the imperialists as a direct threat to imperialism, and pressure began to be put on the leadership. A threat of the imperialists, inspired and backed by the leadership of the N.A.A.C.P., to exclude Garvey from the country on his return from a tour of the West Indies brought about the complete and abject capitulation of the national reformist leaders. Crawling on his knees before the imperialists, Garvey enunciated the infamous doctrine that “the Negro must be loyal to all flags under which he lives.” This was a complete negation of the Negro liberation struggle. It was followed by an agreement with the Ku Klux Klan, in which the reformists catered for the support of the southern senators in an attempt to secure the “repatriation” of the Negro masses by deportation to Liberia.
The objective difficulties and subjective weakness of the movement, arising out of reformist leadership and its attempt to harmonize the demands of all the dissatisfied elements among the Negro people, inevitably led to the betrayal of the toiling masses.
Surrendered Right of Self- Determination
of Negro Majorities of U.S. and West Indies
While never actually waging a real struggle for national liberation the movement did make some militant demands in the beginning. However, these demands were soon thrown overboard as the reactionary side of the movement gained dominance. There followed a complete and shameful abandonment and betrayal of the struggles of the Negro masses of the United States and the West Indies. The right of the Negro majorities in the West Indies and in the Black Belt of the United States to determine and control their own government was as completely negated by the Garvey national reformists as by the imperialists. The Garvey movement became a tool of the imperialists. Even its struggle slogans for the liberation of the African peoples, which had always been given main stress, were abandoned and the movement began to peddle the illusion of a peaceful return to Africa.
At first giving expression to the disgust which the Negro masses felt for the religious illusions of liberation through “divine” intervention, etc., the Garvey movement became one of the main social carriers of these illusions among the masses, with Marcus Garvey taking on the role of High Priest after the resignation and defection of the Chaplain-General, Bishop McGuire. Feudal orders, high sounding titles and various commercial adventures were substituted for the struggle demands of the earlier stages.
How completely the reactionary side came to dominate the movement is shown in (1) its acceptance of the Ku Klux Klan viewpoint that the United States is a white man’s country and that the Negro masses living here are rightfully denied all democratic rights; (2) the rejection by the leaders at the 1929 conventions in Jamaica, B.W.I., of a resolution condemning imperialism.
In both cases the betrayals just noted were carried to their logical conclusion, in Garvey’s bid for an alliance with the Ku Klux Klan, and in an article he wrote in the Black Man (Jamaica organ of the movement) shortly after the 1929 convention in which he attacked the Jamaica workers for organizing into unions of the T.U.U.L. to better their conditions. In this article he attacked Communism as a menace to the imperialists and warned the Negro masses of Jamaica that they “would not dare accept and foster something tabooed by the mother country.” So complete was the counterrevolutionary degeneration of the national reformists that the oppressing imperialism was openly accepted by them as their “mother country!” The imperialist oppressors were presented to the masses as “friends who have treated him (the Negro) if not fairly, with some kind of consideration!”
The decline of the movement synchronized with the subsiding of the post war crisis. As a result both of the lessening of the economic pressure on the masses and the awakening of the most militant sections of the membership to the betrayals being carried out by the national reformist behind the gesture of struggle phrases and demagogy, the masses began to drop away from the movement. Relieved of the pressure of the militant masses the movement began to assert more and more its reactionary and anti-democratic side.
Already at the Second Congress it was evident that the national reformists were losing their grip on the masses. As a result of the widespread exposures carried on by the Negro radicals against the dishonest business schemes and consistent betrayals of the national Negro liberation movement by the Garvey reformists, the sympathetic masses outside of the organization were becoming more and more critical of the national reformists. Within the organization itself there was such wide-spread dissatisfaction that the top leadership was forced to make sacrificial goats of several rubber stamp lieutenants. Within a few months of the closing of the Second Congress, the first big mass defections occurred (California, Philadelphia). These revolts, however, were led by reformists and were significant only from the point of view of the growing disintegration of the movement. From 1921, the movement has undergone a continuous process of deterioration and break-up, as the masses increasingly came to realize the treacherous character of the national reformist leaders.
The recent decision of Garvey to sell the Jamaica properties of the organization (pocketing the proceeds) and take up his residence in Europe (far from the masses he has plundered and betrayed), denotes a high stage in the collapse of this reactionary movement, whose dangerous ideology, as pointed out by the C.I., bears not a single democratic trait.
Historically however the movement has certain progressive achievements. It undoubtedly helped to crystallize the national aspirations of the Negro masses. Moreover, the Negro masses achieved a certain political ripening as a result of their experience and disillusionment with this movement.
New Negro Liberation Movement Goes Forward
Under the Hegemony of the Negro Proletariat
The betrayal of these aspirations and the national liberation struggle by the Garvey national reformists was facilitated by (1) the immaturity of the Negro working-class; (2) the weakness both in theoretical and in organizational strength of the revolutionary labor movement in the United States at that time.
Today as the result of large-scale migrations into the industrial centers of large numbers of Negroes from the plantations, a strong Negro proletariat has come into being, developing in the class struggle and freeing themselves of petty bourgeois influences and reformist illusions. Further, as the result of the present crisis and the correct application by the Communist Party of the U.S.A. of the C.I. line on the Negro question, the Negro liberation movement again goes forward, this time under the sign of proletarian hegemony, and wages a relentless fight against imperialism and for unconditional Negro equality, including the right of self-determination of the Negro majorities in the Black Belt of the South, in the West Indies and the Negro peoples of Africa.
Before concluding, it is necessary to emphasize here that the Garvey movement, while in decline and on the verge of collapse, still represents a most dangerous reactionary force, exercising considerable ideological influence over large masses of Negroes. It will not do to ignore this movement which is most dangerous in its disintegration because of the desperate attempts being made by the national reformists leaders to maintain their influence over the Negro masses, either by saving the movement as it is or by luring the dissatisfied masses into other organizations under the control of the national reformists.
The situation affords considerable opportunity for the winning of the Negro masses away from the influence of the reformists and in another article I will deal with the tasks of the Party in relation to the disintegration and decline of the Garvey Movement.
Reprinted from The Communist, June, 1931, pp. 547-552.
 In an article in the Crusader Magazine, entitled “Figures Never Lie But Liars Do Figure.”
 The Negro radicals referred to are Richard B. Moore, Otto Huiswoud, W.A. Domingo, Cyril Briggs, and Hubert Harrison before his degeneration. Domingo was never a member of the Party. Huiswoud, Briggs and Moore were members of the Communist fraction in the African Blood Brotherhood.
The international situation is becoming ever more complicated. In saying this I have in mind that the situation is not tranquil either for capitalism or for the revolutionaries. Capitalism is in a great fever, in crisis. Continue reading “Enver Hoxha :: The Marxist-Leninist Movement and the World Crisis of Capitalism”
Dear comrades all over the world:
After patience of the Egyptian people on Police & Armed Forces since their authorization to face terrorism urgently & after feeling of the people the slowing down in facing terrorism by letting armed sets at war zones ( Rabaa el Adaweya & Nahda ) squares with passiveness at arresting criminal leaders of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) also permitting the new liberal power to mess the national security with calling a foreign power ( which is an enemy for the Egyptians) to interfere at the interior situation without any respect to the people’s well that was clear at 30 / 6 & after that date .
The security forces moved after long waiting to evacuate terroristic sets with an evident lax & unjustified graduation in facing armed groups at sets that containing criminals wanted to justice after their encouragement for violence & planning for chaos with ordering to destroy the country establishments not only that but also calling in public for imperial power help ( bullying abroad ) , crying on the victims that killed by MB militia ( friendly fire ) at their clashes before in a very clear betrayal which get them out from Egyptian national current .
We saw torture, killing inside their sets which became sure after finding the bodies of tortured victims that was thrown under the stages in addition to using children in a nasty view against all international norms & humanity.
Their telling lie about peace became obvious after facing security with gun machines & R B G s also after finding of great amount of weapons & gun machines at the two squares. The security forces surprised us by calling the criminal to go out without any punishment under the slogans of safe going out how come!! How come the criminals had no punishment for their crimes ?!
Although all that the MB criminals didn’t bow only after killing, burning, & destroying. The governmental systems were as if they were going for picnic as they were focusing on the two war zones without any doing their role at securing the governmental building, police stations, hospitals, ministries & people’s property even at Cairo or other governorates which gave a chance to Islamist terroristic militia to burn churches with people inside, killing by identity & commission crimes of ethnic cleansing at some villages at upper Egypt trying to ignite sectarian strife also they burned the mosque that they were staying in at rabaa square before leaving for propitiation of general opinion & international community. They regain their regressive culture at hating the Egyptian civilized history by burning & museums.
We are blaming the government for all this losses & victims from innocent people wanted their country not to fall inside a terrorism grasp. All those losses could be avoided if the government has a complete security plan to secure the hall country before beginning at evacuation specially we all knew about the threating of Islamists with spreading the chaos .
What we said before became obvious as the betrayal is clear on the situation of those power who called themselves national power as they leave responsibilities at a moment that the people need their support under slogan of they don’t want to interfere in violence ( with forgetting the blood of Iraqi people before which didn’t lead to the same situations!!) & as usual some power who are calling themselves leftist but they are actually the right of the rightist by defending the terrorists indirectly by refusing facing terrorism & evacuating of armed sets, under slogans of getting the military role down as they considered what happened a military coup to cover the truth of their supporting the right regressive fascist religious power. They stood in the same columns with capitalists, regressive & rightist power that are all against the poor people demands.
We are demanding the Egyptian people to not to responding to the fake calls of reconciliation with terrorists & they should form a popular committees to face terrorism without waiting for slow security forces.
We are insisting that our struggle is continuous against this government that is away from poor people demands as it continue to execute the conditions of the international bank & I.M.F. also they are still in the way of depending on private investments at achieving development without any thoughts for beginning at national projects to regain the state role at development to face the crisis of poverty, hunger, unemployment & medical problems.
We ensure that the solution is in the hands of people only by struggling for real socialist project providing social justice & ending of exploitations.
Finally we say that we are against dependency & supporting the independency of the Egyptian people well.
Revolutionist Communist Party – Egypt
Samir Amin, Egyptian philosopher and economist, director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, talks about the last year in Egypt with the Brotherhood in power, interviewed by Giuseppe Acconcia.
On 30 June 2012, Mohammed Morsi took over as the Mubarak successor. However, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Muslim Brothers’ victory when this interview took plave, bloody clashes broke out in the country.
Acconcia: What do you think about the Tamarod’s campaign?
Samir Amin: The Tamarod’s campaign for the Morsi dismissal is magnificent. Millions of people signed their names after giving deep political consideration to what they were doing: something totally ignored by the international mainstream media. They represent the majority of all the electoral constituencies, but they do not have any voice. The Muslim Brothers wield political power and like to think they can control 100% of the votes. Thus, they ensured members of the movement in every public sector. Their way of managing the country is informed by a type of crony capitalism which simply does not leave any room for the opposition figures and technocrats who had some power even in the Mubarak era.
A: This is happening during the worst economic crisis of recent decades
Samir Amin: There is more than an economic crisis. Islamists have only ultraliberal answers to give to the crisis: they have replaced the capitalists’ bourgeois clique that were Mubarak’s friends with reactionary businessmen. Moreover, their goal is quite simply to sell off public goods. The Brotherhood is hated by Egyptians because it continues with the same policies as its predecessor.
A: Maybe worse in the case of the Islamic Finance Bill?
Samir Amin: It is theft to attach derisory prices to goods that are worth billions of dollars. These are not the usual privatizations that reactionary regimes indulge in, selling off goods at their economic value. This is pure fraud more than a privatization.
A: Recalling the stages of this year with the Brotherhood in power – Morsi won after eight days of uncertainty and finally the elimination of the Nasserist, Hamdin Sabbahi, in the first round. Were the 2012 presidential elections manipulated?
Samir Amin: There was massive electoral fraud. Hamdin Sabbahi could have passed into the second round, but the US Embassy did not want it. European observers listened to their American diplomatic counterparts and turned a blind eye to the fraud involved. Moreover, the five million votes for Sabbahi were squeaky clean and highly motivated. On the other hand, the five million votes for Morsi came from the most wretched part of the population, devoid of political conscience: the votes of people willing to be bought off for a piece of bread and a glass of milk.
A: But would you agree that the sharpest clashes between the presidency and demonstrators broke out last November as a consequence of the presidential decree that extended Morsi’s powers?
Samir Amin: Morsi got going with a few weeks of demagogic speechifying, promising to listen to the other political contestants. After that, it soon became clear the extent to which the President was a puppet with the Gulf countries pulling the strings out of sight. He became a mere instrument of the murshid’s will – that of Mohammed Badie, Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A: The historic support to the Palestinians had been shelved as well?
Samir Amin: The Egyptian Muslim Brothers support Israel, like the Gulf countries and Qatar do. They have always adopted an anti-Zionist discourse, but this was just an ongoing deception. The Qatari Emir, for example, is quite used to saying one thing and then doing the opposite, given the complete absence of public opinion. Now Egypt is supporting the worst type of opposition in Syria, as do the most reactionary western powers. The end result is that the majority of the western weapons furnished to the rebels are being used to finance the very worst outcome in Syria.
A: Is this why Morsi supported the creation of a Free Trade Area in the Sinai, favouring an economic relationship with Israel?
Samir Amin: This is a huge loss to Egypt. The effects of the new Free Trade Area will not be the imagined industrialization of the region, but the perpetration of a huge fiscal fraud. This will strengthen small mafias and the dismantling of public assets. In the end, the Brotherhood would accept all the conditions of the International Monetary Fund and the expected loan will accordingly come to fruition despite the fact that corruption and financial scandal have spread all over the country.
A: So how do you see the acceptance of the Constitution written by the Muslim Brotherhood, last December?
Samir Amin: This is a dictatorship of the majority. However, judges put up the strongest and indeed an unprecedented fight against the ratification of the constitutional referendum results. But it is clear that the ultimate goal of Freedom and Justice (the political party of the Brotherhood) is to build-up a theocracy on the Iranian model.
A: To conclude, is there anything left to preserve in this year of Morsi’s presidency?
Samir Amin: The lumpen proletariat is easily manipulated, and a fortiori would not obtain anything by the upheaval Morsi’s overthrow will bring. Moreover, the division of power the Brotherhood has with the army who is behind the scenes, ready to intervene, is full of ambiguity. The military personnel, as a class, are corrupt – a corruption guaranteed by American help, and carefully composed of segments of different classes, divided into political currents, many of them close to the Brotherhood and the Salafists.
However, with normal elections, with a period of democratic preparation, the Brotherhood will be beaten. But if this is not going to happen, next October there will be a more repressive climate and the vote will be manipulated by widespread falsification as happened on the previous occasion.
We are posting the statement of EMEP about the on-going massive demonstrations taking place in Turkey. We hope that the valiant people of Turkey will be successful in overthrowing the corrupt and brazenly neo-liberal regime.
We appeal to comrades world over to raise in unison with our belligerent comrades in Turkey. you may send your message of solidarity to EMEP at international[@]emep.org
let the ruling class tremble at a communist revolution…
About the developments in Turkey
How can anyone interpret the ongoing widespread massive demonstrations launched on previous week? The Turkish Spring? A public upheaval? Or a coup attempt ignited by the nationalists?
To make a realistic interpretation,one must consider the latest political incidents in Turkey. Definitely, it is not just one spark which glinted the fire.
AKP Government,the most loyal ally of US and Western Imperialism in Middle East ,an important actor of the Greater Middle East Initiative and the most devoted executor of Neo-liberal politics;and its policies were found extensive protests for years.
The policies such as disposal of public property to multinational institutions and to local tycoons,massive dismissals, the reorganization of the working life against workers outsourcing, union-busting, restriction of social rights, lower wages,increased exploitation of labor in the name of increasing performance evoked insurgency everyday in factories and institutions.
On the other hand,the ignorance and the assimilative policies on Kurdish people, massive detentions caused tremendous repercussions .
The urbanite bourgeoisie were disturbed by the religious based practices and the statements of the AKP Government.Implementation of compulsory religious education in secondary schools,re-arrangement of the education system according to religious references requested,the increase in the number of religious schools,the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which employs a huge army of clerics to arbitration,restrictions for the sale of alcoholic beverages and smoking,replenish of the bureaucratic cadre by the religious sections called the pro-AKP.
AKP, by creating high interest rates and selling the public domain to foreign capital at very low rates,provided a flow of hot money and tried to attract the share capital which refrain from investing their money in the Middle East or in the Western banks and companies.So that the AKP government was more successfull so far as Europe and US in slurring over the wolrd economic crises.
But,lately, the hot money money flow from abroad has been decreased.AKP government tried to avoid the economical predicament by implementing a construction campaign so called “Urban transformation”.The most valuable areas in big cities were expropriated,multi-storey structures builded on public domains and sold for extreme prices.Growing traffic problem, destroying of green spaces and the prejudiced policies in which AKP followers filled their pockets,lead to a widespread discontent.
The Syrian policy of AKP government unplugged a great dissatisfaction amongst people.The monetary aid supporting the radical islamic organisations and groups and deploying these groups on Syria border caused lots of issues.The radical islamists became a menacing power for the Alawite majority on the border.harboring the radical islamists impaired the trade and the economy in the area.
The bankruptcies and the unemployment has increased.Besides,the negative effects of 5 million dollars spent on Esad opposers has become to emerge.
In these circumstances, Prime minister Erdoğan announced that a Shopping mall would be builded in Taksim Park.The Shopping mall would be constructed as a caserne. Artillery Barracks during the bourgeois revolution in 1908,known as the headquarters of reactionary forces,and the center of the uprising AKP,resuscitating the barracks,is advocating the March 31, 1908 reactionary uprising and also wanted to take revenge of the 1908 Revolution. Barracks project revealed as such for a substantial portion of the population.In addition, Taksim environmental sectors also disturbed about the fact that almost no green space would be left in the shopping center. Erdoğan’s intention to change the city landscape without the consent of such majority,led the way to an uprising to his dictator-like policies.
Taksim Gezi Park,resistance began.Business machines,taking action to demolish Taksim Park attracted thousands of people to Taksim Gezi Park. Late at night,after the main mass had left the park,the police forces attacked a small group sleeping in tents.The tents were burned by the police, the activists were beaten and exposed to pepper gas.
A month ago, on May 1st demonstration in Taksim AKP government banned a distance of twenty miles from the entrance to thwart and mass transport to the zone is stopped, they cut off the access to the city’s Asian and European parts the whole day, and the masses were subjected to attack, gas and water cannons.The precautions taken by the AKP government has aggrieved all the people in İstanbul and the tourists.
Now, again, the same method is used to terminate the action in Gezi Park.This latest attack,exasperated a very wide range of masses and tens of thousands of people departed to Taksim. When the working hours ended,the number of the masses accumulated in Taksim reached one hundred thousand. Dense gas and water cannons used in the police attack.Despite the censorship promoted by the bourgeois media,by the efforts of social media and a few revolutionary and democratic organ the events has been transferred to the public. Actions spread to Ankara and Izmir. People not leave the streets until dawn.In İzmir, Ankara and İstanbul the clashes between the police and the activists had become tough.Baricades have been built.During the clashes,some youngsters have died in Ankara, İstanbul and Hatay.Tens of thousands of people have been injured and been arrested. Our Party’s youth branch administrator in Ankara have also been injured and arrested.
Most of the protesters were composed of youngsters and women.The football team supporters also participated the demonstrations by putting off the challenges between them.The most used slogans of the actions were “Resignate Government” and “Resignate Tayyip”. The masses participated to the demonstrations were often unorganized.
Our party,all revolutionary and democratic parties, greens, environmentalists, chambers of physicians, engineers and architects rooms, public sector workers’ unions, the Alawite, intellectuals and artists, lawyers,nationalist groups all composed the secular sections which agree that the AKP government was slowly building a religious law system.
Our Party, participating the demonstrations with all its cadre and organizations,tried to attract the labour, proletarian and the unions to the action. Fasten on the formation of the administrative instruments of the actions and to refine the targets.
Summoned for the Kurdish problem ‘s democratic and populist solution,abolition of restrictions on freedom of press,expression and association,the rights of the Alewite,for return of usurped rights of the working class and laborers, removal of the election threshold, to determine and punish those responsible for the massacres as Roboski and Reyhanlı, providing the police from gas-spraying of demonstrators,for the prohibition of dismissal of cities,prohibition of destruction of green spaces for rent by looting and an end to logging. Called for general strike and resistance.
Summoned to the people to organize and struggle.Today, Public Laborer Union (KESK) and Revolutionary Labourer Unions Confederation are installing a general strike. The events in Turkey this week, has similar and different aspects from the processes experienced in Tunisia, Egypt or other Arabian countries.The similarities are; wide masses saying” This is enough” and invading the streets and the resolution for struggle.The differences are the organisational level for the masses and the demands.For the last five years, similar actions took place not only in Arabian countries or in Turkey,also in European countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain,France and England; and in some Latin American countries.Common ground for all is masses rebelling against the repression and the exploitation of capitalism.
It is clear that the people revolting against the ruling class for their own rights and freedom will be strengthen by the international solidarity and the unity.
Labour Party (EMEP)
4 June 2013
The Dissolution of the Communist International Answer to Reuter’s Correspondent
May 28, 1943
Mr. Harold King, Moscow correspondent of Reuter’s Agency, addressed a letter to J. V. Stalin, Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the U.S.S.R., in which he requested an answer to a question of interest to the British public. Marshal Stalin replied with the following letter:
DEAR MR. KING,—I have received your request to answer a question referring to the dissolution of the Communist International. I am sending you my answer.
QUESTION: British comment on the decision to dissolve the Comintern has been very favourable. What is the Soviet view of this matter and of its bearing on future international relations?
ANSWER: The dissolution of the Communist International is proper and timely because it facilitates the organization of the common onslaught of all freedom-loving nations against the common enemy—Hitlerism.
The dissolution of the Communist International is proper because:
(a) It exposes the lie of the Hitlerites to the effect that “Moscow” allegedly intends to intervene in the life of other nations and to “Bolshevize” them. From now on an end is put to this lie.
(b) It exposes the calumny of the adversaries of Communism within the Labour movement to the effect that Communist Parties in various countries are allegedly acting not in the interests of their people but on orders from outside. From now on an end is also put to this calumny.
(c) It facilitates the work of patriots of all countries for uniting the progressive forces of their respective countries, regardless of party or religious faith, into a single camp of national liberation—for unfolding the struggle against fascism.
(d) It facilitates the work of patriots of all countries for uniting all freedom-loving peoples into a single international camp for the fight against the menace of world domination by Hitlerism, thus clearing the way for the future organization of a companionship of nations based upon their equality.
I think that all these circumstances taken together will result in a further strengthening of the United Front of the Allies and other united nations in their fight for victory over Hitlerite tyranny.
I feel that the dissolution of the Communist International is perfectly timely—because it is exactly now, when the fascist beast is exerting its last strength, that it is necessary to organize the common onslaught of freedom-loving countries to finish off this beast and to deliver the people from fascist oppression.
(Signed) J. Stalin
May 28, 1943
The state brutality on the belligerent workers of Maruti Suzuki shows sign of no abatement.
Since March workers were on peaceful protest in Kaithal in Haryana.
The workers, who have been either dismissed or suspended from work after the incident of that took place in the factory premises on 18th July 2012, today have been arrested in mass along with several activists and supporters in Kaithal District of Haryana. To protest against this high handedness of the state apparatus the representatives of workers union (Maruti Suzuki Workers Union) along with the several workers were on peaceful demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kaithal since 24th March.
On 19th the workers Union had given a call for peaceful demonstration in front of industry minister Surjewala’s house, this call had elicited a massive solidarity from various revolutionary left, democratic and progressive force, as a result the state machinery that has been brazenly conniving with the Maruti management and has been acting as companies henchmen came into full force.
Yesterday the police virtually attacked the peaceful protesters and even resorted to lathi charge (Beating with baton) and forcefully evicting them.
Today, they have arrested not only the members of Provincial Committee of the Union but also those who had gone to Kaithal to express their solidarity.
This is dictatorial attitude of the Haryana Government in its pursuit of neo-liberal polity.
We appeal to Comrades all over the world to please hold demonstration and protest in solidarity of belligerent workers who are part of the world working class revolution.
The text of press release circulated by MSWU
MARUTI SUZUKI WORKERS UNION
Reg. No. 1923
PRESS RELEASE: 20th May 2013
We are facing one of the most brutal repression by the government on our movement. While we have adopted the democratic and peaceful means available to demand the release of arrested 147 workers, withdrawal of and reinstatement of terminated 546 permanent and 1800 contract workers, the government has only responded with force and malice and in collusion with the Maruti Suzuki company management.
Our peaceful dharna has been going on since 24th March, which included hunger strike, deputations, rallies, which are all in the ambit of our democratic right guaranteed in the Constitution. This was forcibly broken on 18th May by the huge police force of thousands of personnel in riot gear, tear gas etc. They came in before curfew under Sec.144 was declared on the entire town of Kaithal at 5pm with effect till midnight of 19th May to prevent our call for a protest demonstration on 19th May in front of the residence of Haryana Industries and Commerce Minister, Randip Singh Surjewala. Thousands of people from across Haryana and other pro-worker people from across the country were to come to express solidarity.
At 11.30pm on 18th May those on the site of the dharna, 96 workers and activists were arrested and sent to Kaithal Jail under Sections 188, 341, 506, 511. This includes a member of the Provisional Working Committee, MSWU, Yogesh Gawande, and two Trade Union activists who have been coming in support, Shyamveer who is a correspondent of the workers newspaper, Nagrik and an activist with Inqlabi Mazdoor Kendra, and Amit and who is a workers’ movement activist and current Phd student in Economics dept, CESP, JNU, New Delhi. On the morning of 19th May, 4 more workers were arrested from their homes in the villages nearby.
On 19th May 2013, we decided to go ahead with our pre-declared program, and around 1500 people started coming in solidarity from across Haryana in the morning. These included primarily workers and our family members and relatives, and people from village Panchayats, democratic and mass organizations and individuals. A huge police force and CID Haryana personnel were all over the Bus Station, Railway Station and all points in the town to follow and stop anyone who was coming for support. We gathered near Pyoda village 2km from the city limits, and started to peacefully march to register our protest, that all those arrested on 18th May night be released immediately so that talks can happen. Barricades and a huge police contingent of over 2000 personnel with water cannons and tear gas vehicles, stopped us on the road next to Surjewala’s residence.
At 6.30pm, without any warning, the stationed police force started a brutal lathi-charge and tear gas and water cannons were unleashed mercilessly on the protestors, which included in large majority, women, children and old men. Hundreds were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital. The police came with a second round of lathi-charge when people were still in a state of shock. The government has acted with malicious intention, and with a view to crush the struggle while all wanted to do was register our peaceful protest in front of our elected representatives, and yesterday’s actions and arrests shows this.
Eleven workers and activists were arrested on completely fabricated charges of serious nature. These are:
Ramniwas of Provisional Working Committee, Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
Deepak Bakshi who is advisor to the MSWU and General Secretary of Hindustan Motors-Sangrami Shramik Karamchari Union, Kolkata
Somnath who is a correspondent of the workers newspaper, Shramik Shakti
Suresh Koth, who is panchayat leader from Koth village, Hissar dist, Haryana
and three more people, whose names are still unclear.
They have been charged under non-bailable Sections 148, 149, 188, 283, 332, 353, 186, 341, 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC, 3 of P/D, TPDA, 8NH for blocking the highway and 25 (54 and 59) of the Arms Act. They have been
produced in the Kaithal Court today 20th May 2013 and sent to 14days of Judicial Custody.
This is a serious pre-meditated assault on especially those of the active workers and activists who have stood in solidarity with us and to show us again as criminals only because we continue to protest against the wrongs that have been done to us for the last two years since 4th June 2011, and especially since 18th July 2012 when it became apparent that the government is openly siding with the company against workers and activists. This is the reward the government has again given us workers for asking for our rights which are guaranteed in the Constitution.
We appeal to all workers, trade unions and workers organizations, democratic rights and civil rights organizations and mass organizations and democratic minded individuals and to come out in protest in this hour when we need all forms of solidarity. We reiterate our just demands of releasing all the arrested workers and activists and reinstatement of terminated workers.
Provisional Working Committee
Maruti Suzuki Workers Union
The day of protest by Maruti workers
Who is responsible for the violence in Maruti Suzuki? (Published in Revolutionary Democracy Journal)
Maruti Suzuki Strike: (This report gives the events in chronological order as they unfolded in Maruti plant since start)
(Published in Revolutionary Democracy Journal)
The vegetable garden of Odisha is going to be submerged and more than 50 villages displaced; and the name of the game is ‘Development at Gunpoint’ – meaning ‘peaceful industrialization’ as the chief minister claims!
Thousands of farmers of the Lower Suktel plateau in Balangir are protesting against this upcoming dam for more than a decade now. After many a round of brutal repression and forceful land acquisition, the State has now declared the ‘final war’ against its own people.
On 29 April 2013, more than 2000 people were holding ground in opposition to the dam project. Early in the morning, 10 platoons of police force cracked down on the peaceful protesters. They started beating people mercilessly, without any provocation. They dragged women, clamped their feet with heavy boots, and tried to lynch Amitabh Patra, a filmmaker, who was filming the excesses first hand. The policemen, who appeared to be drunk, behaved like hired goons of some mafia outfit.
The police arrested 16 people, including Amitabh Patra and Lenin Kumar, editor of *Nisan*. Amitabh is still struggling for life with severe head injuries.
एक नया प्रश्न उठ खड़ा हुआ है। क्या मैं किसी अहंकार के कारण सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापी तथा सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व पर विश्वास नहीं करता हूँ? मेरे कुछ दोस्त – शायद ऐसा कहकर मैं उन पर बहुत अधिकार नहीं जमा रहा हूँ – मेरे साथ अपने थोड़े से सम्पर्क में इस निष्कर्ष पर पहुँचने के लिये उत्सुक हैं कि मैं ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकार कर कुछ ज़रूरत से ज़्यादा आगे जा रहा हूँ और मेरे घमण्ड ने कुछ हद तक मुझे इस अविश्वास के लिये उकसाया है। मैं ऐसी कोई शेखी नहीं बघारता कि मैं मानवीय कमज़ोरियों से बहुत ऊपर हूँ। मैं एक मनुष्य हूँ, और इससे अधिक कुछ नहीं। कोई भी इससे अधिक होने का दावा नहीं कर सकता। यह कमज़ोरी मेरे अन्दर भी है। अहंकार भी मेरे स्वभाव का अंग है। अपने कामरेडो के बीच मुझे निरंकुश कहा जाता था। यहाँ तक कि मेरे दोस्त श्री बटुकेश्वर कुमार दत्त भी मुझे कभी-कभी ऐसा कहते थे। कई मौकों पर स्वेच्छाचारी कह मेरी निन्दा भी की गयी। कुछ दोस्तों को शिकायत है, और गम्भीर रूप से है कि मैं अनचाहे ही अपने विचार, उन पर थोपता हूँ और अपने प्रस्तावों को मनवा लेता हूँ। यह बात कुछ हद तक सही है। इससे मैं इनकार नहीं करता। इसे अहंकार कहा जा सकता है। जहाँ तक अन्य प्रचलित मतों के मुकाबले हमारे अपने मत का सवाल है। मुझे निश्चय ही अपने मत पर गर्व है। लेकिन यह व्यक्तिगत नहीं है। ऐसा हो सकता है कि यह केवल अपने विश्वास के प्रति न्यायोचित गर्व हो और इसको घमण्ड नहीं कहा जा सकता। घमण्ड तो स्वयं के प्रति अनुचित गर्व की अधिकता है। क्या यह अनुचित गर्व है, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया? अथवा इस विषय का खूब सावधानी से अध्ययन करने और उस पर खूब विचार करने के बाद मैंने ईश्वर पर अविश्वास किया?
मैं यह समझने में पूरी तरह से असफल रहा हूँ कि अनुचित गर्व या वृथाभिमान किस तरह किसी व्यक्ति के ईश्वर में विश्वास करने के रास्ते में रोड़ा बन सकता है? किसी वास्तव में महान व्यक्ति की महानता को मैं मान्यता न दूँ – यह तभी हो सकता है, जब मुझे भी थोड़ा ऐसा यश प्राप्त हो गया हो जिसके या तो मैं योग्य नहीं हूँ या मेरे अन्दर वे गुण नहीं हैं, जो इसके लिये आवश्यक हैं। यहाँ तक तो समझ में आता है। लेकिन यह कैसे हो सकता है कि एक व्यक्ति, जो ईश्वर में विश्वास रखता हो, सहसा अपने व्यक्तिगत अहंकार के कारण उसमें विश्वास करना बन्द कर दे? दो ही रास्ते सम्भव हैं। या तो मनुष्य अपने को ईश्वर का प्रतिद्वन्द्वी समझने लगे या वह स्वयं को ही ईश्वर मानना शुरू कर दे। इन दोनो ही अवस्थाओं में वह सच्चा नास्तिक नहीं बन सकता। पहली अवस्था में तो वह अपने प्रतिद्वन्द्वी के अस्तित्व को नकारता ही नहीं है। दूसरी अवस्था में भी वह एक ऐसी चेतना के अस्तित्व को मानता है, जो पर्दे के पीछे से प्रकृति की सभी गतिविधियों का संचालन करती है। मैं तो उस सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व से ही इनकार करता हूँ। यह अहंकार नहीं है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिकता के सिद्धान्त को ग्रहण करने के लिये प्रेरित किया। मैं न तो एक प्रतिद्वन्द्वी हूँ, न ही एक अवतार और न ही स्वयं परमात्मा। इस अभियोग को अस्वीकार करने के लिये आइए तथ्यों पर गौर करें। मेरे इन दोस्तों के अनुसार, दिल्ली बम केस और लाहौर षडयन्त्र केस के दौरान मुझे जो अनावश्यक यश मिला, शायद उस कारण मैं वृथाभिमानी हो गया हूँ।
मेरा नास्तिकतावाद कोई अभी हाल की उत्पत्ति नहीं है। मैंने तो ईश्वर पर विश्वास करना तब छोड़ दिया था, जब मैं एक अप्रसिद्ध नौजवान था। कम से कम एक कालेज का विद्यार्थी तो ऐसे किसी अनुचित अहंकार को नहीं पाल-पोस सकता, जो उसे नास्तिकता की ओर ले जाये। यद्यपि मैं कुछ अध्यापकों का चहेता था तथा कुछ अन्य को मैं अच्छा नहीं लगता था। पर मैं कभी भी बहुत मेहनती अथवा पढ़ाकू विद्यार्थी नहीं रहा। अहंकार जैसी भावना में फँसने का कोई मौका ही न मिल सका। मैं तो एक बहुत लज्जालु स्वभाव का लड़का था, जिसकी भविष्य के बारे में कुछ निराशावादी प्रकृति थी। मेरे बाबा, जिनके प्रभाव में मैं बड़ा हुआ, एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी हैं। एक आर्य समाजी और कुछ भी हो, नास्तिक नहीं होता। अपनी प्राथमिक शिक्षा पूरी करने के बाद मैंने डी0 ए0 वी0 स्कूल, लाहौर में प्रवेश लिया और पूरे एक साल उसके छात्रावास में रहा। वहाँ सुबह और शाम की प्रार्थना के अतिरिक्त में घण्टों गायत्री मंत्र जपा करता था। उन दिनों मैं पूरा भक्त था। बाद में मैंने अपने पिता के साथ रहना शुरू किया। जहाँ तक धार्मिक रूढ़िवादिता का प्रश्न है, वह एक उदारवादी व्यक्ति हैं। उन्हीं की शिक्षा से मुझे स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय के लिये अपने जीवन को समर्पित करने की प्रेरणा मिली। किन्तु वे नास्तिक नहीं हैं। उनका ईश्वर में दृढ़ विश्वास है। वे मुझे प्रतिदिन पूजा-प्रार्थना के लिये प्रोत्साहित करते रहते थे। इस प्रकार से मेरा पालन-पोषण हुआ। असहयोग आन्दोलन के दिनों में राष्ट्रीय कालेज में प्रवेश लिया। यहाँ आकर ही मैंने सारी धार्मिक समस्याओं – यहाँ तक कि ईश्वर के अस्तित्व के बारे में उदारतापूर्वक सोचना, विचारना तथा उसकी आलोचना करना शुरू किया। पर अभी भी मैं पक्का आस्तिक था। उस समय तक मैं अपने लम्बे बाल रखता था। यद्यपि मुझे कभी-भी सिक्ख या अन्य धर्मों की पौराणिकता और सिद्धान्तों में विश्वास न हो सका था। किन्तु मेरी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व में दृढ़ निष्ठा थी। बाद में मैं क्रान्तिकारी पार्टी से जुड़ा। वहाँ जिस पहले नेता से मेरा सम्पर्क हुआ वे तो पक्का विश्वास न होते हुए भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने का साहस ही नहीं कर सकते थे। ईश्वर के बारे में मेरे हठ पूर्वक पूछते रहने पर वे कहते, ‘’जब इच्छा हो, तब पूजा कर लिया करो।’’ यह नास्तिकता है, जिसमें साहस का अभाव है। दूसरे नेता, जिनके मैं सम्पर्क में आया, पक्के श्रद्धालु आदरणीय कामरेड शचीन्द्र नाथ सान्याल आजकल काकोरी षडयन्त्र केस के सिलसिले में आजीवन कारवास भोग रहे हैं। उनकी पुस्तक ‘बन्दी जीवन’ ईश्वर की महिमा का ज़ोर-शोर से गान है। उन्होंने उसमें ईश्वर के ऊपर प्रशंसा के पुष्प रहस्यात्मक वेदान्त के कारण बरसाये हैं। 28 जनवरी, 1925 को पूरे भारत में जो ‘दि रिवोल्यूशनरी’ (क्रान्तिकारी) पर्चा बाँटा गया था, वह उन्हीं के बौद्धिक श्रम का परिणाम है। उसमें सर्वशक्तिमान और उसकी लीला एवं कार्यों की प्रशंसा की गयी है। मेरा ईश्वर के प्रति अविश्वास का भाव क्रान्तिकारी दल में भी प्रस्फुटित नहीं हुआ था। काकोरी के सभी चार शहीदों ने अपने अन्तिम दिन भजन-प्रार्थना में गुजारे थे। राम प्रसाद ‘बिस्मिल’ एक रूढ़िवादी आर्य समाजी थे। समाजवाद तथा साम्यवाद में अपने वृहद अध्ययन के बावजूद राजेन लाहड़ी उपनिषद एवं गीता के श्लोकों के उच्चारण की अपनी अभिलाषा को दबा न सके। मैंने उन सब मे सिर्फ एक ही व्यक्ति को देखा, जो कभी प्रार्थना नहीं करता था और कहता था, ‘’दर्शन शास्त्र मनुष्य की दुर्बलता अथवा ज्ञान के सीमित होने के कारण उत्पन्न होता है। वह भी आजीवन निर्वासन की सजा भोग रहा है। परन्तु उसने भी ईश्वर के अस्तित्व को नकारने की कभी हिम्मत नहीं की।
इस समय तक मैं केवल एक रोमान्टिक आदर्शवादी क्रान्तिकारी था। अब तक हम दूसरों का अनुसरण करते थे। अब अपने कन्धों पर ज़िम्मेदारी उठाने का समय आया था। यह मेरे क्रान्तिकारी जीवन का एक निर्णायक बिन्दु था। ‘अध्ययन’ की पुकार मेरे मन के गलियारों में गूँज रही थी – विरोधियों द्वारा रखे गये तर्कों का सामना करने योग्य बनने के लिये अध्ययन करो। अपने मत के पक्ष में तर्क देने के लिये सक्षम होने के वास्ते पढ़ो। मैंने पढ़ना शुरू कर दिया। इससे मेरे पुराने विचार व विश्वास अद्भुत रूप से परिष्कृत हुए। रोमांस की जगह गम्भीर विचारों ने ली ली। न और अधिक रहस्यवाद, न ही अन्धविश्वास। यथार्थवाद हमारा आधार बना। मुझे विश्वक्रान्ति के अनेक आदर्शों के बारे में पढ़ने का खूब मौका मिला। मैंने अराजकतावादी नेता बाकुनिन को पढ़ा, कुछ साम्यवाद के पिता माक्र्स को, किन्तु अधिक लेनिन, त्रात्स्की, व अन्य लोगों को पढ़ा, जो अपने देश में सफलतापूर्वक क्रान्ति लाये थे। ये सभी नास्तिक थे। बाद में मुझे निरलम्ब स्वामी की पुस्तक ‘सहज ज्ञान’ मिली। इसमें रहस्यवादी नास्तिकता थी। 1926 के अन्त तक मुझे इस बात का विश्वास हो गया कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान परम आत्मा की बात, जिसने ब्रह्माण्ड का सृजन, दिग्दर्शन और संचालन किया, एक कोरी बकवास है। मैंने अपने इस अविश्वास को प्रदर्शित किया। मैंने इस विषय पर अपने दोस्तों से बहस की। मैं एक घोषित नास्तिक हो चुका था।
मई 1927 में मैं लाहौर में गिरफ़्तार हुआ। रेलवे पुलिस हवालात में मुझे एक महीना काटना पड़ा। पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे बताया कि मैं लखनऊ में था, जब वहाँ काकोरी दल का मुकदमा चल रहा था, कि मैंने उन्हें छुड़ाने की किसी योजना पर बात की थी, कि उनकी सहमति पाने के बाद हमने कुछ बम प्राप्त किये थे, कि 1927 में दशहरा के अवसर पर उन बमों में से एक परीक्षण के लिये भीड़ पर फेंका गया, कि यदि मैं क्रान्तिकारी दल की गतिविधियों पर प्रकाश डालने वाला एक वक्तव्य दे दूँ, तो मुझे गिरफ़्तार नहीं किया जायेगा और इसके विपरीत मुझे अदालत में मुखबिर की तरह पेश किये बेगैर रिहा कर दिया जायेगा और इनाम दिया जायेगा। मैं इस प्रस्ताव पर हँसा। यह सब बेकार की बात थी। हम लोगों की भाँति विचार रखने वाले अपनी निर्दोष जनता पर बम नहीं फेंका करते। एक दिन सुबह सी0 आई0 डी0 के वरिष्ठ अधीक्षक श्री न्यूमन ने कहा कि यदि मैंने वैसा वक्तव्य नहीं दिया, तो मुझ पर काकोरी केस से सम्बन्धित विद्रोह छेड़ने के षडयन्त्र तथा दशहरा उपद्रव में क्रूर हत्याओं के लिये मुकदमा चलाने पर बाध्य होंगे और कि उनके पास मुझे सजा दिलाने व फाँसी पर लटकवाने के लिये उचित प्रमाण हैं। उसी दिन से कुछ पुलिस अफ़सरों ने मुझे नियम से दोनो समय ईश्वर की स्तुति करने के लिये फुसलाना शुरू किया। पर अब मैं एक नास्तिक था। मैं स्वयं के लिये यह बात तय करना चाहता था कि क्या शान्ति और आनन्द के दिनों में ही मैं नास्तिक होने का दम्भ भरता हूँ या ऐसे कठिन समय में भी मैं उन सिद्धान्तों पर अडिग रह सकता हूँ। बहुत सोचने के बाद मैंने निश्चय किया कि किसी भी तरह ईश्वर पर विश्वास तथा प्रार्थना मैं नहीं कर सकता। नहीं, मैंने एक क्षण के लिये भी नहीं की। यही असली परीक्षण था और मैं सफल रहा। अब मैं एक पक्का अविश्वासी था और तब से लगातार हूँ। इस परीक्षण पर खरा उतरना आसान काम न था। ‘विश्वास’ कष्टों को हलका कर देता है। यहाँ तक कि उन्हें सुखकर बना सकता है। ईश्वर में मनुष्य को अत्यधिक सान्त्वना देने वाला एक आधार मिल सकता है। उसके बिना मनुष्य को अपने ऊपर निर्भर करना पड़ता है। तूफ़ान और झंझावात के बीच अपने पाँवों पर खड़ा रहना कोई बच्चों का खेल नहीं है। परीक्षा की इन घड़ियों में अहंकार यदि है, तो भाप बन कर उड़ जाता है और मनुष्य अपने विश्वास को ठुकराने का साहस नहीं कर पाता। यदि ऐसा करता है, तो इससे यह निष्कर्ष निकलता है कि उसके पास सिर्फ़ अहंकार नहीं वरन् कोई अन्य शक्ति है। आज बिलकुल वैसी ही स्थिति है। निर्णय का पूरा-पूरा पता है। एक सप्ताह के अन्दर ही यह घोषित हो जायेगा कि मैं अपना जीवन एक ध्येय पर न्योछावर करने जा रहा हूँ। इस विचार के अतिरिक्त और क्या सान्त्वना हो सकती है? ईश्वर में विश्वास रखने वाला हिन्दू पुनर्जन्म पर राजा होने की आशा कर सकता है। एक मुसलमान या ईसाई स्वर्ग में व्याप्त समृद्धि के आनन्द की तथा अपने कष्टों और बलिदान के लिये पुरस्कार की कल्पना कर सकता है। किन्तु मैं क्या आशा करूँ? मैं जानता हूँ कि जिस क्षण रस्सी का फ़न्दा मेरी गर्दन पर लगेगा और मेरे पैरों के नीचे से तख़्ता हटेगा, वह पूर्ण विराम होगा – वह अन्तिम क्षण होगा। मैं या मेरी आत्मा सब वहीं समाप्त हो जायेगी। आगे कुछ न रहेगा। एक छोटी सी जूझती हुई ज़िन्दगी, जिसकी कोई ऐसी गौरवशाली परिणति नहीं है, अपने में स्वयं एक पुरस्कार होगी – यदि मुझमें इस दृष्टि से देखने का साहस हो। बिना किसी स्वार्थ के यहाँ या यहाँ के बाद पुरस्कार की इच्छा के बिना, मैंने अनासक्त भाव से अपने जीवन को स्वतन्त्रता के ध्येय पर समर्पित कर दिया है, क्योंकि मैं और कुछ कर ही नहीं सकता था। जिस दिन हमें इस मनोवृत्ति के बहुत-से पुरुष और महिलाएँ मिल जायेंगे, जो अपने जीवन को मनुष्य की सेवा और पीड़ित मानवता के उद्धार के अतिरिक्त कहीं समर्पित कर ही नहीं सकते, उसी दिन मुक्ति के युग का शुभारम्भ होगा। वे शोषकों, उत्पीड़कों और अत्याचारियों को चुनौती देने के लिये उत्प्रेरित होंगे। इस लिये नहीं कि उन्हें राजा बनना है या कोई अन्य पुरस्कार प्राप्त करना है यहाँ या अगले जन्म में या मृत्योपरान्त स्वर्ग में। उन्हें तो मानवता की गर्दन से दासता का जुआ उतार फेंकने और मुक्ति एवं शान्ति स्थापित करने के लिये इस मार्ग को अपनाना होगा। क्या वे उस रास्ते पर चलेंगे जो उनके अपने लिये ख़तरनाक किन्तु उनकी महान आत्मा के लिये एक मात्र कल्पनीय रास्ता है। क्या इस महान ध्येय के प्रति उनके गर्व को अहंकार कहकर उसका गलत अर्थ लगाया जायेगा? कौन इस प्रकार के घृणित विशेषण बोलने का साहस करेगा? या तो वह मूर्ख है या धूर्त। हमें चाहिए कि उसे क्षमा कर दें, क्योंकि वह उस हृदय में उद्वेलित उच्च विचारों, भावनाओं, आवेगों तथा उनकी गहराई को महसूस नहीं कर सकता। उसका हृदय मांस के एक टुकड़े की तरह मृत है। उसकी आँखों पर अन्य स्वार्थों के प्रेतों की छाया पड़ने से वे कमज़ोर हो गयी हैं। स्वयं पर भरोसा रखने के गुण को सदैव अहंकार की संज्ञा दी जा सकती है। यह दुखपूर्ण और कष्टप्रद है, पर चारा ही क्या है?
आलोचना और स्वतन्त्र विचार एक क्रान्तिकारी के दोनो अनिवार्य गुण हैं। क्योंकि हमारे पूर्वजों ने किसी परम आत्मा के प्रति विश्वास बना लिया था। अतः कोई भी व्यक्ति जो उस विश्वास को सत्यता या उस परम आत्मा के अस्तित्व को ही चुनौती दे, उसको विधर्मी, विश्वासघाती कहा जायेगा। यदि उसके तर्क इतने अकाट्य हैं कि उनका खण्डन वितर्क द्वारा नहीं हो सकता और उसकी आस्था इतनी प्रबल है कि उसे ईश्वर के प्रकोप से होने वाली विपत्तियों का भय दिखा कर दबाया नहीं जा सकता तो उसकी यह कह कर निन्दा की जायेगी कि वह वृथाभिमानी है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं था, जो मुझे नास्तिकता की ओर ले गया। मेरे तर्क का तरीका संतोषप्रद सिद्ध होता है या नहीं इसका निर्णय मेरे पाठकों को करना है, मुझे नहीं। मैं जानता हूँ कि ईश्वर पर विश्वास ने आज मेरा जीवन आसान और मेरा बोझ हलका कर दिया होता। उस पर मेरे अविश्वास ने सारे वातावरण को अत्यन्त शुष्क बना दिया है। थोड़ा-सा रहस्यवाद इसे कवित्वमय बना सकता है। किन्तु मेरे भाग्य को किसी उन्माद का सहारा नहीं चाहिए। मैं यथार्थवादी हूँ। मैं अन्तः प्रकृति पर विवेक की सहायता से विजय चाहता हूँ। इस ध्येय में मैं सदैव सफल नहीं हुआ हूँ। प्रयास करना मनुष्य का कर्तव्य है। सफलता तो संयोग तथा वातावरण पर निर्भर है। कोई भी मनुष्य, जिसमें तनिक भी विवेक शक्ति है, वह अपने वातावरण को तार्किक रूप से समझना चाहेगा। जहाँ सीधा प्रमाण नहीं है, वहाँ दर्शन शास्त्र का महत्व है। जब हमारे पूर्वजों ने फुरसत के समय विश्व के रहस्य को, इसके भूत, वर्तमान एवं भविष्य को, इसके क्यों और कहाँ से को समझने का प्रयास किया तो सीधे परिणामों के कठिन अभाव में हर व्यक्ति ने इन प्रश्नों को अपने ढ़ंग से हल किया। यही कारण है कि विभिन्न धार्मिक मतों में हमको इतना अन्तर मिलता है, जो कभी-कभी वैमनस्य तथा झगड़े का रूप ले लेता है। न केवल पूर्व और पश्चिम के दर्शनों में मतभेद है, बल्कि प्रत्येक गोलार्ध के अपने विभिन्न मतों में आपस में अन्तर है। पूर्व के धर्मों में, इस्लाम तथा हिन्दू धर्म में ज़रा भी अनुरूपता नहीं है। भारत में ही बौद्ध तथा जैन धर्म उस ब्राह्मणवाद से बहुत अलग है, जिसमें स्वयं आर्यसमाज व सनातन धर्म जैसे विरोधी मत पाये जाते हैं। पुराने समय का एक स्वतन्त्र विचारक चार्वाक है। उसने ईश्वर को पुराने समय में ही चुनौती दी थी। हर व्यक्ति अपने को सही मानता है। दुर्भाग्य की बात है कि बजाय पुराने विचारकों के अनुभवों तथा विचारों को भविष्य में अज्ञानता के विरुद्ध लड़ाई का आधार बनाने के हम आलसियों की तरह, जो हम सिद्ध हो चुके हैं, उनके कथन में अविचल एवं संशयहीन विश्वास की चीख पुकार करते रहते हैं और इस प्रकार मानवता के विकास को जड़ बनाने के दोषी हैं।
सिर्फ विश्वास और अन्ध विश्वास ख़तरनाक है। यह मस्तिष्क को मूढ़ और मनुष्य को प्रतिक्रियावादी बना देता है। जो मनुष्य अपने को यथार्थवादी होने का दावा करता है, उसे समस्त प्राचीन रूढ़िगत विश्वासों को चुनौती देनी होगी। प्रचलित मतों को तर्क की कसौटी पर कसना होगा। यदि वे तर्क का प्रहार न सह सके, तो टुकड़े-टुकड़े होकर गिर पड़ेगा। तब नये दर्शन की स्थापना के लिये उनको पूरा धराशायी करकेे जगह साफ करना और पुराने विश्वासों की कुछ बातों का प्रयोग करके पुनर्निमाण करना। मैं प्राचीन विश्वासांे के ठोसपन पर प्रश्न करने के सम्बन्ध में आश्वस्त हूँ। मुझे पूरा विश्वास है कि एक चेतन परम आत्मा का, जो प्रकृति की गति का दिग्दर्शन एवं संचालन करता है, कोई अस्तित्व नहीं है। हम प्रकृति में विश्वास करते हैं और समस्त प्रगतिशील आन्दोलन का ध्येय मनुष्य द्वारा अपनी सेवा के लिये प्रकृति पर विजय प्राप्त करना मानते हैं। इसको दिशा देने के पीछे कोई चेतन शक्ति नहीं है। यही हमारा दर्शन है। हम आस्तिकों से कुछ प्रश्न करना चाहते हैं।
यदि आपका विश्वास है कि एक सर्वशक्तिमान, सर्वव्यापक और सर्वज्ञानी ईश्वर है, जिसने विश्व की रचना की, तो कृपा करके मुझे यह बतायें कि उसने यह रचना क्यों की? कष्टों और संतापों से पूर्ण दुनिया – असंख्य दुखों के शाश्वत अनन्त गठबन्धनों से ग्रसित! एक भी व्यक्ति तो पूरी तरह संतृष्ट नही है। कृपया यह न कहें कि यही उसका नियम है। यदि वह किसी नियम से बँधा है तो वह सर्वशक्तिमान नहीं है। वह भी हमारी ही तरह नियमों का दास है। कृपा करके यह भी न कहें कि यह उसका मनोरंजन है। नीरो ने बस एक रोम जलाया था। उसने बहुत थोड़ी संख्या में लोगांें की हत्या की थी। उसने तो बहुत थोड़ा दुख पैदा किया, अपने पूर्ण मनोरंजन के लिये। और उसका इतिहास में क्या स्थान है? उसे इतिहासकार किस नाम से बुलाते हैं? सभी विषैले विशेषण उस पर बरसाये जाते हैं। पन्ने उसकी निन्दा के वाक्यों से काले पुते हैं, भत्र्सना करते हैं – नीरो एक हृदयहीन, निर्दयी, दुष्ट। एक चंगेज खाँ ने अपने आनन्द के लिये कुछ हजार जानें ले लीं और आज हम उसके नाम से घृणा करते हैं। तब किस प्रकार तुम अपने ईश्वर को न्यायोचित ठहराते हो? उस शाश्वत नीरो को, जो हर दिन, हर घण्टे ओर हर मिनट असंख्य दुख देता रहा, और अभी भी दे रहा है। फिर तुम कैसे उसके दुष्कर्मों का पक्ष लेने की सोचते हो, जो चंगेज खाँ से प्रत्येक क्षण अधिक है? क्या यह सब बाद में इन निर्दोष कष्ट सहने वालों को पुरस्कार और गलती करने वालों को दण्ड देने के लिये हो रहा है? ठीक है, ठीक है। तुम कब तक उस व्यक्ति को उचित ठहराते रहोगे, जो हमारे शरीर पर घाव करने का साहस इसलिये करता है कि बाद में मुलायम और आरामदायक मलहम लगायेगा? ग्लैडिएटर संस्था के व्यवस्थापक कहाँ तक उचित करते थे कि एक भूखे ख़ूंख़्वार शेर के सामने मनुष्य को फेंक दो कि, यदि वह उससे जान बचा लेता है, तो उसकी खूब देखभाल की जायेगी? इसलिये मैं पूछता हूँ कि उस चेतन परम आत्मा ने इस विश्व और उसमें मनुष्यों की रचना क्यों की? आनन्द लूटने के लिये? तब उसमें और नीरो में क्या फर्क है?
तुम मुसलमानो और ईसाइयो! तुम तो पूर्वजन्म में विश्वास नहीं करते। तुम तो हिन्दुओं की तरह यह तर्क पेश नहीं कर सकते कि प्रत्यक्षतः निर्दोष व्यक्तियों के कष्ट उनके पूर्वजन्मों के कर्मों का फल है। मैं तुमसे पूछता हूँ कि उस सर्वशक्तिशाली ने शब्द द्वारा विश्व के उत्पत्ति के लिये छः दिन तक क्यों परिश्रम किया? और प्रत्येक दिन वह क्यों कहता है कि सब ठीक है? बुलाओ उसे आज। उसे पिछला इतिहास दिखाओ। उसे आज की परिस्थितियों का अध्ययन करने दो। हम देखेंगे कि क्या वह कहने का साहस करता है कि सब ठीक है। कारावास की काल-कोठरियों से लेकर झोपड़ियों की बस्तियों तक भूख से तड़पते लाखों इन्सानों से लेकर उन शोषित मज़दूरों से लेकर जो पूँजीवादी पिशाच द्वारा खून चूसने की क्रिया को धैर्यपूर्वक निरुत्साह से देख रहे हैं तथा उस मानवशक्ति की बर्बादी देख रहे हैं, जिसे देखकर कोई भी व्यक्ति, जिसे तनिक भी सहज ज्ञान है, भय से सिहर उठेगा, और अधिक उत्पादन को ज़रूरतमन्द लोगों में बाँटने के बजाय समुद्र में फेंक देना बेहतर समझने से लेकर राजाआंे के उन महलों तक जिनकी नींव मानव की हड्डियों पर पड़ी है- उसको यह सब देखने दो और फिर कहे – सब कुछ ठीक है! क्यों और कहाँ से? यही मेरा प्रश्न है। तुम चुप हो। ठीक है, तो मैं आगे चलता हूँ।
और तुम हिन्दुओ, तुम कहते हो कि आज जो कष्ट भोग रहे हैं, ये पूर्वजन्म के पापी हैं और आज के उत्पीड़क पिछले जन्मों में साधु पुरुष थे, अतः वे सत्ता का आनन्द लूट रहे हैं। मुझे यह मानना पड़ता है कि आपके पूर्वज बहुत चालाक व्यक्ति थे। उन्होंने ऐसे सिद्धान्त गढ़े, जिनमें तर्क और अविश्वास के सभी प्रयासों को विफल करने की काफ़ी ताकत है। न्यायशास्त्र के अनुसार दण्ड को अपराधी पर पड़ने वाले असर के आधार पर केवल तीन कारणों से उचित ठहराया जा सकता है। वे हैं – प्रतिकार, भय तथा सुधार। आज सभी प्रगतिशील विचारकों द्वारा प्रतिकार के सिद्धान्त की निन्दा की जाती है। भयभीत करने के सिद्धान्त का भी अन्त वहीं है। सुधार करने का सिद्धान्त ही केवल आवश्यक है और मानवता की प्रगति के लिये अनिवार्य है। इसका ध्येय अपराधी को योग्य और शान्तिप्रिय नागरिक के रूप में समाज को लौटाना है। किन्तु यदि हम मनुष्यों को अपराधी मान भी लें, तो ईश्वर द्वारा उन्हें दिये गये दण्ड की क्या प्रकृति है? तुम कहते हो वह उन्हें गाय, बिल्ली, पेड़, जड़ी-बूटी या जानवर बनाकर पैदा करता है। तुम ऐसे 84 लाख दण्डों को गिनाते हो। मैं पूछता हूँ कि मनुष्य पर इनका सुधारक के रूप में क्या असर है? तुम ऐसे कितने व्यक्तियों से मिले हो, जो यह कहते हैं कि वे किसी पाप के कारण पूर्वजन्म में गधा के रूप में पैदा हुए थे? एक भी नहीं? अपने पुराणों से उदाहरण न दो। मेरे पास तुम्हारी पौराणिक कथाओं के लिए कोई स्थान नहीं है। और फिर क्या तुम्हें पता है कि दुनिया में सबसे बड़ा पाप गरीब होना है। गरीबी एक अभिशाप है। यह एक दण्ड है। मैं पूछता हूँ कि दण्ड प्रक्रिया की कहाँ तक प्रशंसा करें, जो अनिवार्यतः मनुष्य को और अधिक अपराध करने को बाध्य करे? क्या तुम्हारे ईश्वर ने यह नहीं सोचा था या उसको भी ये सारी बातें मानवता द्वारा अकथनीय कष्टों के झेलने की कीमत पर अनुभव से सीखनी थीं? तुम क्या सोचते हो, किसी गरीब या अनपढ़ परिवार, जैसे एक चमार या मेहतर के यहाँ पैदा होने पर इन्सान का क्या भाग्य होगा? चूँकि वह गरीब है, इसलिये पढ़ाई नहीं कर सकता। वह अपने साथियों से तिरस्कृत एवं परित्यक्त रहता है, जो ऊँची जाति में पैदा होने के कारण अपने को ऊँचा समझते हैं। उसका अज्ञान, उसकी गरीबी तथा उससे किया गया व्यवहार उसके हृदय को समाज के प्रति निष्ठुर बना देते हैं। यदि वह कोई पाप करता है तो उसका फल कौन भोेगेगा? ईष्वर, वह स्वयं या समाज के मनीषी? और उन लोगों के दण्ड के बारे में क्या होगा, जिन्हें दम्भी ब्राह्मणों ने जानबूझ कर अज्ञानी बनाये रखा तथा जिनको तुम्हारी ज्ञान की पवित्र पुस्तकों – वेदों के कुछ वाक्य सुन लेने के कारण कान में पिघले सीसे की धारा सहन करने की सजा भुगतनी पड़ती थी? यदि वे कोई अपराध करते हैं, तो उसके लिये कौन ज़िम्मेदार होगा? और उनका प्रहार कौन सहेगा? मेरे प्रिय दोस्तों! ये सिद्धान्त विशेषाधिकार युक्त लोगों के आविष्कार हैं। ये अपनी हथियाई हुई शक्ति, पूँजी तथा उच्चता को इन सिद्धान्तों के आधार पर सही ठहराते हैं। अपटान सिंक्लेयर ने लिखा था कि मनुष्य को बस अमरत्व में विश्वास दिला दो और उसके बाद उसकी सारी सम्पत्ति लूट लो। वह बगैर बड़बड़ाये इस कार्य में तुम्हारी सहायता करेगा। धर्म के उपदेशकों तथा सत्ता के स्वामियों के गठबन्धन से ही जेल, फाँसी, कोड़े और ये सिद्धान्त उपजते हैं।
मैं पूछता हूँ तुम्हारा सर्वशक्तिशाली ईश्वर हर व्यक्ति को क्यों नहीं उस समय रोकता है जब वह कोई पाप या अपराध कर रहा होता है? यह तो वह बहुत आसानी से कर सकता है। उसने क्यों नहीं लड़ाकू राजाओं की लड़ने की उग्रता को समाप्त किया और इस प्रकार विश्वयुद्ध द्वारा मानवता पर पड़ने वाली विपत्तियों से उसे बचाया? उसने अंग्रेजों के मस्तिष्क में भारत को मुक्त कर देने की भावना क्यों नहीं पैदा की? वह क्यों नहीं पूँजीपतियों के हृदय में यह परोपकारी उत्साह भर देता कि वे उत्पादन के साधनों पर अपना व्यक्तिगत सम्पत्ति का अधिकार त्याग दें और इस प्रकार केवल सम्पूर्ण श्रमिक समुदाय, वरन समस्त मानव समाज को पूँजीवादी बेड़ियों से मुक्त करें? आप समाजवाद की व्यावहारिकता पर तर्क करना चाहते हैं। मैं इसे आपके सर्वशक्तिमान पर छोड़ देता हूँ कि वह लागू करे। जहाँ तक सामान्य भलाई की बात है, लोग समाजवाद के गुणों को मानते हैं। वे इसके व्यावहारिक न होने का बहाना लेकर इसका विरोध करते हैं। परमात्मा को आने दो और वह चीज को सही तरीके से कर दे। अंग्रेजों की हुकूमत यहाँ इसलिये नहीं है कि ईश्वर चाहता है बल्कि इसलिये कि उनके पास ताकत है और हममें उनका विरोध करने की हिम्मत नहीं। वे हमको अपने प्रभुत्व में ईश्वर की मदद से नहीं रखे हैं, बल्कि बन्दूकों, राइफलों, बम और गोलियों, पुलिस और सेना के सहारे। यह हमारी उदासीनता है कि वे समाज के विरुद्ध सबसे निन्दनीय अपराध – एक राष्ट्र का दूसरे राष्ट्र द्वारा अत्याचार पूर्ण शोषण – सफलतापूर्वक कर रहे हैं। कहाँ है ईश्वर? क्या वह मनुष्य जाति के इन कष्टों का मज़ा ले रहा है? एक नीरो, एक चंगेज, उसका नाश हो!
क्या तुम मुझसे पूछते हो कि मैं इस विश्व की उत्पत्ति तथा मानव की उत्पत्ति की व्याख्या कैसे करता हूँ? ठीक है, मैं तुम्हें बताता हूँ। चाल्र्स डारविन ने इस विषय पर कुछ प्रकाश डालने की कोशिश की है। उसे पढ़ो। यह एक प्रकृति की घटना है। विभिन्न पदार्थों के, नीहारिका के आकार में, आकस्मिक मिश्रण से पृथ्वी बनी। कब? इतिहास देखो। इसी प्रकार की घटना से जन्तु पैदा हुए और एक लम्बे दौर में मानव। डार्विन की ‘जीव की उत्पत्ति’ पढ़ो। और तदुपरान्त सारा विकास मनुष्य द्वारा प्रकृति के लगातार विरोध और उस पर विजय प्राप्त करने की चेष्टा से हुआ। यह इस घटना की सम्भवतः सबसे सूक्ष्म व्याख्या है।
तुम्हारा दूसरा तर्क यह हो सकता है कि क्यों एक बच्चा अन्धा या लंगड़ा पैदा होता है? क्या यह उसके पूर्वजन्म में किये गये कार्यों का फल नहीं है? जीवविज्ञान वेत्ताओं ने इस समस्या का वैज्ञानिक समाधान निकाल लिया है। अवश्य ही तुम एक और बचकाना प्रश्न पूछ सकते हो। यदि ईश्वर नहीं है, तो लोग उसमें विश्वास क्यों करने लगे? मेरा उत्तर सूक्ष्म तथा स्पष्ट है। जिस प्रकार वे प्रेतों तथा दुष्ट आत्माओं में विश्वास करने लगे। अन्तर केवल इतना है कि ईश्वर में विश्वास विश्वव्यापी है और दर्शन अत्यन्त विकसित। इसकी उत्पत्ति का श्रेय उन शोषकों की प्रतिभा को है, जो परमात्मा के अस्तित्व का उपदेश देकर लोगों को अपने प्रभुत्व में रखना चाहते थे तथा उनसे अपनी विशिष्ट स्थिति का अधिकार एवं अनुमोदन चाहते थे। सभी धर्म, समप्रदाय, पन्थ और ऐसी अन्य संस्थाएँ अन्त में निर्दयी और शोषक संस्थाओं, व्यक्तियों तथा वर्गों की समर्थक हो जाती हैं। राजा के विरुद्ध हर विद्रोह हर धर्म में सदैव ही पाप रहा है।
मनुष्य की सीमाओं को पहचानने पर, उसकी दुर्बलता व दोष को समझने के बाद परीक्षा की घड़ियों में मनुष्य को बहादुरी से सामना करने के लिये उत्साहित करने, सभी ख़तरों को पुरुषत्व के साथ झेलने तथा सम्पन्नता एवं ऐश्वर्य में उसके विस्फोट को बाँधने के लिये ईश्वर के काल्पनिक अस्तित्व की रचना हुई। अपने व्यक्तिगत नियमों तथा अभिभावकीय उदारता से पूर्ण ईश्वर की बढ़ा-चढ़ा कर कल्पना एवं चित्रण किया गया। जब उसकी उग्रता तथा व्यक्तिगत नियमों की चर्चा होती है, तो उसका उपयोग एक भय दिखाने वाले के रूप में किया जाता है। ताकि कोई मनुष्य समाज के लिये ख़तरा न बन जाये। जब उसके अभिभावक गुणों की व्याख्या होती ह,ै तो उसका उपयोग एक पिता, माता, भाई, बहन, दोस्त तथा सहायक की तरह किया जाता है। जब मनुष्य अपने सभी दोस्तों द्वारा विश्वासघात तथा त्याग देने से अत्यन्त क्लेष में हो, तब उसे इस विचार से सान्त्वना मिल सकती हे कि एक सदा सच्चा दोस्त उसकी सहायता करने को है, उसको सहारा देगा तथा वह सर्वशक्तिमान है और कुछ भी कर सकता है। वास्तव में आदिम काल में यह समाज के लिये उपयोगी था। पीड़ा में पड़े मनुष्य के लिये ईश्वर की कल्पना उपयोगी होती है। समाज को इस विश्वास के विरुद्ध लड़ना होगा। मनुष्य जब अपने पैरों पर खड़ा होने का प्रयास करता है तथा यथार्थवादी बन जाता है, तब उसे श्रद्धा को एक ओर फेंक देना चाहिए और उन सभी कष्टों, परेशानियों का पुरुषत्व के साथ सामना करना चाहिए, जिनमें परिस्थितियाँ उसे पटक सकती हैं। यही आज मेरी स्थिति है। यह मेरा अहंकार नहीं है, मेरे दोस्त! यह मेरे सोचने का तरीका है, जिसने मुझे नास्तिक बनाया है। ईश्वर में विश्वास और रोज़-ब-रोज़ की प्रार्थना को मैं मनुष्य के लिये सबसे स्वार्थी और गिरा हुआ काम मानता हूँ। मैंने उन नास्तिकों के बारे में पढ़ा हे, जिन्होंने सभी विपदाओं का बहादुरी से सामना किया। अतः मैं भी एक पुरुष की भाँति फाँसी के फन्दे की अन्तिम घड़ी तक सिर ऊँचा किये खड़ा रहना चाहता हूँ।
हमें देखना है कि मैं कैसे निभा पाता हूँ। मेरे एक दोस्त ने मुझे प्रार्थना करने को कहा। जब मैंने उसे नास्तिक होने की बात बतायी तो उसने कहा, ‘’अपने अन्तिम दिनों में तुम विश्वास करने लगोगे।’’ मैंने कहा, ‘’नहीं, प्यारे दोस्त, ऐसा नहीं होगा। मैं इसे अपने लिये अपमानजनक तथा भ्रष्ट होने की बात समझाता हूँ। स्वार्थी कारणों से मैं प्रार्थना नहीं करूँगा।’’ पाठकों और दोस्तों, क्या यह अहंकार है? अगर है तो मैं स्वीकार करता हूँ।
अली सरदार जाफ़री की नज़्म
मां है रेशम के कारखाने में
बाप मसरूफ़ सूती मिल में है
कोख से मां की जब से निकला है
बच्चा खोली के काले दिल में है
जब यहां से निकल के जाएगा
कारखानों के काम आएगा
अपने मजबूर पेट की खातिर
भूख सरमाये की बढ़ाएगा
हाथ सोने के फूल उगलेंगे
जिस्म चांदी का धन लुटाएगा
खिड़कियां होंगी बैंक की रौशन
खून इसका दिए जलाएगा
यह जो नन्हा है भोला भाला है
खूनीं सरमाये का निवाला है
पूछती है यह इसकी खामोशी
कोई मुझको बचाने वाला है!
Thanks to comrade Mohan Shrotriya, facebook id
In 1987 the external debt of the U.S. rose to $246 billion. On the 19 of October 1987, Wall Street crashed! Only a miracle could save the U.S. in dire straits. And the miracle took place, and the its saviour was Gorbachev.
Gorbachev, by saved the U.S. economy, by ruining that of the USSR. Continue reading “Looter’s feast : The pillage of the USSR”
The following is an interview of Peter Mertens who is the leader of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, The Partij van de Arbeid van België, PVDA, French: Parti du Travail de Belgique, PTB) hosts the International Communist Seminar.
Peter Mertens in this interview attacks the CPSU (b) under Lenin and Stalin, where he said “I remain looking with nuances into this area. I know that I am starting to against the grain here, I know it’s not the sexiest opinion, but I reject not everything that happened under Communism. Should we, if we had to start again, to install again such regimes? No. Were there essential things that went wrong, in terms of hunger for power, in terms of concentration of power, in terms of lack of democracy and participation? Yes. “
‘Europe is slowly becoming a dictatorship”: PETER MERTENS (pvda)
Interview by Joël De Ceulaer,
(interview on De Stanraard website is available only for subscribers, but thanks to the website of the WPB itself we have the access to the full text (see link below)
“Of course, the comparison makes me angry,” says Peter Mertens (further PM) -. “If my party is being put into the same pocket as Vlaams Belang, as some people from Open VLD and the N-VA enjoy doing, this trivializes racism and demonstrates their intellectual baseness. I come from the tradition of anti-fascism, after the Black Sunday I was one of those who formed the basis of Students Against Racism. The WPB is a rebellious gueuze party. Apparently, the rightwingers are concerned about our advance. And they want necessarily to find a stick to beat us with. “
– Last year a member of your party still sang the praise of North Korea in the TV show ‘In respect’.
Peter Mertens. “That man was back then a comrade of mine. But not anymore. ”
– Have you threw him out?
Peter Mertens. “He has put himself out of the party. I sat in amazement watching that interview. He knew very well that his position is not that of the party, and that whoever makes their position public, proclaims himself outside the organization. I have nothing to do with dictatorships and dynasties. Nothing. I have written two books, of which more than 20,000 copies were sold. Probably some pundits and politicians did not read those books, or they would know that I do not write about foreign regimes, but redistribution of today. ”
– Let’s come back later on those foreign regimes. In our own country today you stand far outside the mainstream.
Peter Mertens. “That is so. The liberal students often ask me for debates. And when I ask them why they are not asking one of the Greens or from the SP.A instead of me, they always say that they would rather have a real debate. And therein I can follow them. Today all parties are running in the neoliberal track. There are only two phenomena that are standing up to it, only two ideologies that are cropping up in Europe as a response to the brutal “me” culture of neoliberalism: nationalism and Marxism. ”
– Explain once again about Marxism, what does it mean?
Peter Mertens. “An important concept in Marxism is that of wealth creation. The question that we ask, ‘Who are the wealth creators, how does wealth actually actually comes tp existance? For Marxists it is the working people. The baker who gets up at three o’clock in the morning for the bread baking, makes the wealth, not the man who happens to have the ownership of the oven lying in his safe. ”
– The owner of the furnace does take the risk.
Peter Mertens. “I’m not saying that the owner of the furnace plays no role in the process. I’m just saying that the working population effectively creates welfare . It is the workers who make a ship out of steel plates. The second source of wealth is nature, from which we derive commodities. These two sources of wealth must be protected and not exploited. ”
Does that happen?
Peter Mertens. “The nature is being plundered, that is clear. I’m not a hippie, but we must respect the carrying capacity of the Earth. And there is in Europe an increasing plundering of labor today. Social protection is systematically reduced. An hourly pay rate of four euros in Germany is already no longer the exception, making that country to count four million of working poor today – people who do have a job and still are poor. ”
Does your party not underestimate the importance of entrepreneurship?
Peter Mertens. “Creativity and innovation are still mainly stimulated by state funded research. Very often, it is the renewal of a spin-off from universities. For a Marxist, entrepreneurship is in itself a public thing. We find it important that the government itself can control the key sectors. Certainly the sectors that are too big to fail.
– Which sectors are these?
Peter Mertens. “The banks, for starters. We now have a system where the benefits go to the private sector, and the costs are borne by the society. That is not a coherent system. IT would have been consistent if you would earn a lot if it was going well, but to into the abyss, if it goes wrong. If a bank is so important that we do not let it fail, then it it must be owned by the government, not by poker players. ”
You want to nationalize them?
Peter Mertens. “To make them more socialized, I find a better term.”
That sounds innocent.
Peter Mertens. (Laughs) That sounds more modern. “To nationalize” sounds twentieth century and it is. What we want is not only that the share structure changes, so that the banks come into the hands of the government. Socialization means that common objectives should be formulated. That risk investments should be avoided. ”
There are no private banks anymore in your ideal society?
Peter Mertens. “There certainly can be. But they get no state guarantee anymore. Everyone is allowed under the free market to use the bank that takes part in “casino capitalism”, but if it goes wrong, they should no longer ask the government for help. ”
Which sectors do you want to make socialized?
Peter Mertens. “The energy sector, for example. That is a vital artery of the society which is now held hostage by a number of monopolies, resulting in unacceptable prices. Mind you, we do not want to create a huge bureaucracy. Thanks to digital media, it is perfectly possible to extensively question the population and to involve them in the policy making. ”
Is Marxism evolved?
Peter Mertens. “Marxism is alive. I do not like people who are literally parroting Marx, without taking into account the context. In this sense Marxism for me is like Darwinism. Darwin in the mid nineteenth century also had made a qualitative leap forward, and his ideas are essentially valid even today. But the theory of evolution is evolved. ”
Was Marx a scientist?
Peter Mertens. “A human science is of a different order than the positive sciences. In the human sciences there has always been a struggle of ideas. That was how the debate between capitalism and Marxism began, after all. They tried to take the economic discussions out of the emotional atmosphere, to retrieve it into a rational debate: who creates prosperity, where does the profit come from, and so on. The great ideologies of today are still attributable to those debates. This is logical, as long as we keep updating itwas. ”
How did you become a Marxist?
Peter Mertens. “That was a sum of coincidences. My ancestry is part of the explanation. My mother was a farmer, my father was a worker’s son. They have always worked hard to make me study. And they have instilled me: do something with your knowledge and never forget where you come from. I remember that. A second important factor was my training at the university. During my studies, sociology, I came into contact with Marxist ideas. ”
Why did you go after your studies to work as a laborer?
Peter Mertens. “Because I just had enough of the academic world, because I wanted to work with my hands, because I wanted to earn money. I have worked for a half year as a cleaner, but I was kicked out. A colleague had burned his arm with a dangerous cleaning product and I had told the boss that we did not want to work with it anymore. I was dismissed at once. ”
Why did you insist on doing that dirty work?
Peter Mertens. “I would certainly not romanticize it, though. I have worked for only eighteen months as a laborer. Some academics have a rather idealized image of the worker. I do not. I know what it is like to get up in the morning against your will and to make your sandwiches. In that respect, it was an important experience. ”
Peter Mertens. “The party already had two sides. The group practice of Medicine for the People existed already, and in the campaign Objective 479917, where we wanted to gather as many signatures as the Vlaams Blok had received in votes, also many people of the Workers Party were involved. The actions to to give the facilities to the refugees during the winter also impressed me. ”
In those activities you probably came across many Christians regularly?
Peter Mertens. “Oh, but I do think that religion can be a tremendous source of civic engagement. I’ve always found that very impressive that during Kerkasiel churches opened up for the outcasts of the world. We have always argued that the unions should do the same. Socialism has lost a lot of this humanitarian side by choosing for the middle class. The WPB still always had that reflex. ”
– But that dogmatic reflex was there too.
Peter Mertens. “Absolutely. When I became a member, the Berlin Wall has just fallen, and everyone was wondering what exactly did go wrong in all those so-called socialist countries. I never agreed with the statement by Francis Fukuyama that history was over, that capitalism had triumphed. And in WPB I found the defense of real existing socialism. For instance, I have always defended Cuba against overly simplistic attacks. ”
– And the Soviet Union? In the 1990s your party still defended Lenin and Stalin.
Peter Mertens. “I remain looking with nuances into this area. I know that I am starting to against the grain here, I know it’s not the sexiest opinion, but I reject not everything that happened under Communism. Should we, if we had to start again, to install again such regimes? No. Were there essential things that went wrong, in terms of hunger for power, in terms of concentration of power, in terms of lack of democracy and participation? Yes. ”
– You express it very gently.
Peter Mertens. “Because in other areas things were achieved that we may call an achievement.”
– Hitler also successfully contested unemployment.
Peter Mertens. (Annoyed) “Really, the barbarism of fascism is the largest bloodstain on the twentieth century.”
– Communism has made more victims.
Peter Mertens. “But it is thanks to the Soviet Union that Europe today is not German. Thanks to those 27 million people in Russia who have given their lives. The Communists were in Antwerp helping many Jews to hide. The Communist Party was the party of the executed. How many cities were not liberated by partisan armies? That all we can not deny. I think that is a handsome legacy of history that I am not going to throw overboard. ”
– It remains a difficult question, apparently.
Peter Mertens. “Not at all. I do not defend the crimes and executions under the Soviet regime. That would be an absurd thing to do. And why you do not question the neoliberals about the crimes in Pinochet’s Chile? There were 80,000 people thrown into prison, in order to give the capitalism free rein. Is there anyone who makes supercritical interviews about it? ”
– The neoliberal thinkers were no dictators.
Peter Mertens. “Neoliberalism cannot without dictatorship. Europe is becoming a dictatorship today. Not in the same way, but still. We live under the rule of wealth. Nobody will reduce the whole liberal tradition to Pinochet, no one will reduce the entire nationalist history to the collaboration. But socialism can be reduced to the crimes of the twentieth century? That is too simplistic. ”
– Both Bart De Wever and Noël Hoses accuse you that you are taking the side of the Syrian regime.
Peter Mertens. “Let them prove it.”
Are you not taking part in meetings with supporters of Iran and Syria?
Peter Mertens. “We participate in many meetings, including the World Social Forum. The only thing we do is questioning the so-called opposition in Syria. It is supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia. And we do not just believe in everything the U.S. says. And we do not believe that the U.S. can solve major world problems, look at Iraq. Today the U.S. in Syria is massively arming the Salafists. And we’ve already experienced something similar: the Taliban in Afghanistan that they have made so big. ”
– You are adamant not to give a complete condemnation of communism?
Peter Mertens. “No, I do not throw away the achievements. Put me against a pole in Breendonk and I will still say the same thing. Our social security, universal suffrage, the rights of man – wd would have not achieved them without the influence of socialism. But now I want a new socialism. I want to be judged by what we do here. On our proposals today. ”
– A SP Chairman Bruno Tobback find your millionaire’s tax nonsense.
Peter Mertens. “Then he completely ignores the finding that the disparity is growing by the dayr. Half a percent of the world has 38 percent of all property. ”
– Agreed, but in Belgium it is still not too bad with inequality, is it not?
Peter Mertens. “No, but in Scandinavia it is still much better. And the point is that the gap is increasing, even here. There is a small club of rich people who are become richer. If we do nothing, we will get explosive situations. Our millionaire tax is also a way to activate dormant riches. And it will affect only half a percent of the population, not the regular saver. ”
– Is it a realistic plan?
Peter Mertens. “Very realistic. More realistic than separatism, because there is no support for it, says the N-VA itself. For a millionaire’s tax there is a support, which different surveys have shown. Eighty percent of the population is behind it. And for the people affected, it will be no problem. Take the families Spoelberch, the Mevius and Vandamme, who are behind AB InBev. With their five billion personal fortune they would not even feel the effect of millionaire tax. Unfortunately, much of the political world today is in the pocket of the financial world. The millionaire’s tax is unrealistic, they say. To abolish the bus roure 23 in Antwerp so that ordinary people can not go to the hospital anymore, that’s realistic. ”
– But if even the SP.A against is that tax, it will never come.
Peter Mertens. “We will continue fighting. Caroline Ven of the enterpreneurs organisation VKW recently announced that I am suffering from a morbid obsession about redistribution. (Laughs) I replied to her that I hope it is contagious. Oxfam has recently calculated that the wealth of the hundred richest people of the world can solve all poverty in the world four times over . If this is a populist remark, then I am proud to be a populist. ”
-With that populism you have put your party on the map again. Ten years ago it seemed to be doomed.
Peter Mertens. “When we attempted in 2003 along with Dyab Abou Jahjah to go to the voters under the name Resist, we indeed ran hard with the nose against the wall. That was really completely wrong. We did not have too many voters already and tyhen have lost a half of those who were left. ”
– Did Abou Jahjah not have a story of deprivation that corresponded perfectly with your program?
Peter Mertens. “Yes, as far as the deprivation of the immigrant community went, it was the right picture. The problem is that the campaign was more focused on the war in Iraq and the Middle East than on problems here at home. In that respect we were deviated from our core business, and you should never do that as a party. For that I do not blame Dyab, but I blame ourselves. ”
– Did you make that analysis then already?
Peter Mertens. “Then I for the first time did the stocktaking for the party after the elections. And for that I wasgreatly resented by the then party leadership . For six months we have been debating the future of the party. The people who came up to sway with doctrinal texts of Lenin, have left the party. The people who felt that we had to rejuvenate, have remained. It was then that we have lost our dogmatic wing. ”
– What became your mission?
Peter Mertens. “We then decided to conquer the neighborhoods which the social democrats have left in the lurch, with a modern socialism. We have also made it tangible, including the kiwi model of Dirk Van Duppen. And we have restored our relationships with the unions . The right want to limit the power of the unions, we unreservedly are on the side of the unions. That is today one of the key battles. ”
-Are you electorally speaking on schedule that you as the party chairman had in mind in 2008?
Peter Mertens. “Not all of our plans came true, but we have made an electoral breakthrough at the municipal elections in Liege and Antwerp, and we have a strong students movevement now. Only the bar is now higher than we had anticipated in 2008. Because of the crisis the need for a party like ours has only grown. The question is how we can sharpen our ambition. It will not be easy. We are faced today with two drawbacks. Until we are in parliament, we will continue to be a volunteer party. We have no funds to finance our operations. And until that threshold in the elections will exist, it is not easy to get into parliament. ”
– Just say, impossible.
Peter Mertens. “In Antwerp it is difficult. In the city we get the threshold, but in the Kempen and the rest of the province we might not. But in Liege, we will undoubtedly have a member elected. And Raoul Hedebouw speaks perfect Dutch too, so he will also be visible in the Flemish parliament. But to really break through within half a year in Flanders, we need the media. ”
– But you have easy access to the media?
Peter Mertens. “Compared to three years ago? Absolutely. In comparison with the other parties? Marginal. Even though I was recently in Dag Allemaal (show). When I will be there 10 times, we can really play equal. ”
– Then you will have to show your wife and children.
Peter Mertens. (Laughs) “Never.”
– What should elections be about next year?
Peter Mertens. “The N-VA controls media completely, so the debate will be hijacked by the confederation. That’s a pity, because that attention is distracted from what really matters. And I think that’s a big problem for our democracy. We will talk endlessly during the election campaign about institutional problems of Belgium, while the European train is hurtling towards abyss. ”
– Europe is the real debate?
Peter Mertens. “One of the most important debates. Europe is destroying itself by spending cuts. And so the crisis will soon get worse. We go to a recession, the closure of Ford Genk was the overture of a second crisis wave, including the closure of ArcelorMittal. This second crisis wave is much harder, because the social security everywhere is being phased out. There is mass unemployment, in Europe today are 27 million people without a job. In some countries, half of the young people have no future. I think most politicians underestimate what that means. That increasing division of society is a threat to democracy. ”
– That unemployment is additionally the largest in the immigrant community.
Peter Mertens. “That’s a tragedy. If people get to know each other on the factory floor know, they are less likely to seclude themselves within their own community. A job leads to integration. That is another reason why we can no longer accept the idea of mass unemployment. ”
-Should the government create jobs?
Peter Mertens. “We must have a major social debate about it. We also want people to look for work actively, like the other parties do, but then there must be jobs. Antwerp currently has 36,000 unemployed for 6,000 vacancies. We urgently need an industrial policy. Multinational companies such as Ford and Arcelor have to come under democratic control. ”
– How are you going to succeed?
Peter Mertens. “Today, politicians look at those big companies like a cow to a train. While outrageous things happen. We have given ArcelorMittal eleven billion euros as a gift made through the notional interest deduction. That money should be returned to us. And for any subsidy or allowance that a company will want in the future, there must be guarantees in terms of employment. We are gliding down to social relations as we have known them in the nineteenth century. And we must take a stand against it. ”
Translated from the Dutch.
5 February 2013
Shri Naveen Pattnaik
Chief Minister of Odisha
Dear Shri Pattnaik,
We, the undersigned, are deeply anguished over the recent attack on the people of Govindpur and Nuagaon villages of Jagatsinghpur district in Odisha who have been using the most democratic means to resist the forceful acquisition of land for the POSCO project. As you claim that Odisha is on the path of peaceful industrialization, is it a sign of peaceful industrialization to send 12 platoons of police for forceful land acquisition?
Over the past few days, the deployment of police force in the area had created tremendous tension and anxiety in people’s minds that the administration will use police force to forcibly entry the villages. Since years now, the village people have been peacefully resisting any acquisition of land and have braved many brutal attacks by the police and goons. All attempts for dialogue with the administration and your government have failed as your government has repeatedly used force and coercion with the support of the Centre in pushing for the project. This aggressive move by your government is a symbol of a demolished democracy where the state itself is violating the law of land. The state is also violating all international conventions as it seeks to invite foreign capital to its land.
We were shocked to hear the manner in which the administration along with 12 police platoons entered the villages around 4am of 3 February (Sunday) 2013 and the police officials indiscriminately hit women and children with lathis (sticks), cut many trees and destroyed several betel vines. More than 50 persons received injuries; of them three women and one old man are severely injured. The police also arbitrarily arrested and detained several men and women who tried to resist the action. They demolished the betel vineyards – one of the most viable local livelihoods.
To be attacked at this hour and caught unaware despite countless organized attempts on part of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti to appeal to you and the Centre, and repeatedly so, shows the deep failure on the part of the state machinery to engage in democratic means with the people whose land it seeks to acquire. You will agree that for the state to take possession of the land forcefully is not in keeping with the constitutional rights of the people, as well as a gross violation of the Forest Rights Act 2006. This is taking place in spite of standing Gram Sabha resolutions opposing the land acquisition process and proposed diversion of forest land for POSCO project, and the National Green Tribunal suspending both forest and environmental clearances issued to the project earlier. The absence of due legal procedures for acquiring forest lands under control of Gram Sabha makes this act on the part of the state doubly illegal.
The actions by the Government of Odisha with the support of the police and POSCO also clearly violate several international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, all of which India has ratified. This recent attack on the people of the area also infringes international standards and guidelines, including the UN Basic principles and guidelines on development based evictions and displacement .
This violent act by your government and administration appears to be a result of the announcement on 28 January 2013 of the Commerce Minister that thegovernment of India will review delays in South Korean steel giant POSCO’s Rs. 60,000 crore (USD 12 billion) plant in Odisha, as it is committed to ensuring “smooth take off” of the project, the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) in India. He also affirmed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is personally monitoring the POSCO project, which is being followed up by the Prime Minister’s Office. The announcement was made in a meeting with South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy in Agra where the CII-organized Global Partnership Summit 2013 was taking place. Also, on 20 January 2013, it was reported that the Board of Approval for SEZs agreed to give POSCO one more year to start work on the proposedproject in Odisha.
We strongly condemn this barbarous attack on people who are resisting the forceful acquisition of their own land so peacefully. And, we stand by the struggling people of your state and prevail upon you to ensure:
- Immediate withdrawal of police from the area
- Immediate release of people who have been illegally arrested
- Provision of adequate medical care to all the injured in the area
- Scrapping of all forms of land acquisition
- State to show cause for acquiring land in the area
Asit – POSCO Pratirodh Solidarity, Delhi
Mamata Dash – All India Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM)
Ranjana Padhi – Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
D Manjit – People’s Union for Democratic Rights
Amit – Krantikari Naujawan Sangh, Delhi
Harish, Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra, Delhi
Pratyush Chandra, Radical Notes, Delhi
Pothik Ghosh, Radical Notes, Delhi
Arjun Pal Singh, PDFI, Delhi
Afsar Jafri – Focus on the Global South, Delhi
P K Shahi – AIFTU (New), Delhi
Nitin Kumar – AISA, Delhi
Sandipan – AISA, Delhi
Rakesh Ranjan – NOWRUZ, Delhi
Damodar – Revolutionary Democracy, Delhi
Kundan, DSU, Delhi
Alok Kumar – Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, Delhi
Anjani Kumar, Independent Journalist, Delhi
Ashish Kothari – Kalpavriksh, Delhi
Ashok Agarwal – Advocate, Delhi
Dr Manoranjan Mohanty – Retd Professor and Activist, Delhi
Gunjan Jain – Activist, Delhi
Kalyani Menon Sen – Feminist Learning Partnerships, Delhi
Kiran Shaheen – Journalist, Delhi
Miloon Kothari – Former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, UN Human Rights Council
Saroj Giri, Asst Professor, Delhi
Shivani Chaudhry – Housing and Land Rights Network, Delhi
Subrat Sahu – Film Maker
Surya Shankar – Film Maker, Delhi
Umesh Babu, Delhi
The theoretical journal of the CC of the Italian Communist Party «Rinascita» in issue No. 35, dated September 5, 1964, has published Togliatti’s last writing, which the Western press has dubbed his «testament». The question is about a memorandum «about the problems of the international workers’ movement and its unity», written by Togliatti in Yalta (USSR), in August 1964, which was to have served as a basis in his talks with Khrushchev and other Soviet leaders about the problems which have arisen in connection with the calling of an international meeting of communist and workers’ parties by the Khrushchev group.
The leadership of the ICP headed by L. Longo, who was elected General Secretary after Togliatti’s death, hastened to publish it and to proclaim it as its own platform. «The leadership of our Party,» wrote Longo in a brief foreword to Togliatti’s «testament», «learned with great excitement about the document prepared by Comrade Togliatti, agreed that in it the positions of our Party in regard to the present situation of the international communist movement are presented with great clarity, and adopted it as its own. Therefore we are publishing Comrade Togliatti’s memorandum as a precise exposition of the position of the Party about the problems of the international communist and workers’ movement and its unity».
The publication of this document met with a lively response both among the revisionist circles and in the bourgeois press. While the Khrushchev group maintained a reserved stand towards this document and was satisfied simply to publish it without comment, the imperialists and the Titoite clique hailed it and welcomed it with glee. And this because of the fact that in this document Togliatti not only reaffirmed the hostile anti-Marxist position of the Italian revisionists, but also disclosed the differences which the Italian revisionists have with other revisionists, and with the Khrushchev group in the first place. Togliatti’s whole «testament» is pervaded from end to end by distortion of Marxism-Leninism, by efforts to replace it in theory and practice with modern revisionism. It reflects and boosts the line of «Italian socialism» and the theory of «Italian polycentrism».
As such, Togliatti’s «testament» has great importance for us Marxist-Leninists because the revisionists exposed themselves in it. Through this document the genuine revolutionaries can see the results of their resolute struggle up till now, which has not only seriously hindered the realization
of the hostile aims of the revisionists, but has also caused them great difficulties and has made the contradictions between them even deeper and more acute. At the same time, through Togliatti’s «testament», the Marxist- Leninists can also see more clearly the plans and methods of struggle which the modern revisionists will try to use now and in the future against Marxist-Leninist parties, against genuine revolutionaries, against communism. These cunning revisionist plans must be resolutely and unhesitatingly unmasked. The illusions which the various revisionist groups try to create about their positions must be exposed and destroyed. The genuine revolutionaries must be clear about the present and future danger from those enemies of communism. For this reason it is necessary to carefully analyze the «testament» of Togliatti.
THE MAIN AIM OF REVISIONISTS IS TO FIGHT
In reading the «testament» of Togliatti it becomes clearly apparent that the main aim of this document is not at all to achieve unity in the international communist movement and the socialist camp, but to show the methods, forms, and means which, in the opinion of Togliatti and the whole revisionist leadership of the Italian Communist Party, will make possible a more effective struggle against the Marxist-Leninist parties and their positions, against their ever-increasing influence. Togliatti makes no attempt to conceal this, indeed in his memorandum there is a special chapter entitled precisely, «How the Chinese Positions Can Be Attacked more Effectively». And this is because the revisionists see that their positions are becoming weaker, that nobody is fooled by their demagogy any longer, that revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties and groups, around which the revolutionary masses of the working class and the people are uniting, are being formed everywhere.
In fact, as is expressed in his «testament», Togliatti is greatly concerned about the fact that things in the revisionist herd, in its struggle against Marxism-Leninism, are not going well, and he sees the main cause of this situation in the «wrong», «dogmatic» and brutal tactics of Khrushchev and his group. He writes:
«The plan which we proposed for a powerful struggle against the incorrect political positions and disruptive activity of the Chinese communists was different from that which was followed in fact… A
different line was followed and I do not consider the results completely satisfactory.»
The Togliatti revisionists are among the most cowardly, but at the same time, the most consistent revisionists.
Therefore they demand, as their dead leader clearly states, that the open polemics against the «dogmatists» must be carried on unceasingly.
With this the Italian revisionists show themselves to be, as they are in fact, sworn enemies of Marxism-Leninism.
They express themselves as firmly opposed to any cessation of the open, public struggle against Marxist-Leninists, even temporarily and for the sake of appearances, because otherwise they cannot carry out their treacherous mission.
At the same time, with this they are telling Khrushchev that his demagogic manoeuvres intended «to stop polemics» are completely in vain and deceive no one, that the polemics cannot be stopped either by the revisionists or the «dogmatists».On the other hand, however, Togliatti demands that
the main direction of the polemics must be shifted. Faced with the bitter experience of the deplorable results of the propaganda of the Khrushchev group, allegedly in defence of principles of creative Marxism-Leninism, he demands that they refrain from theoretical polemics with Marxist- Leninist parties that touch on the vital problems of principleof the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist doctrine and the activity of the communist movement, and that the discussion should be orientated completely towards the confused, unprincipled, and uncontrollable petty day-to-day struggle around the current internal problems of the country, in which, according to Togliatti, the propaganda of the «dogmatists» is «completely disarmed and powerless» and has «no effect at all».
With this proposal Togliatti is launching a very dangerous idea. In the polemics with the Marxist-Leninists over major questions of principle, as Togliatti himself is forced to admit, the modern revisionists have suffered utter defeat, their demagogy has failed and they are not in a position to denigrate the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. The polemics over principle is certain disaster for the revisionists, because it is demonstrating openly to the masses of communists and working people the revisionists’ flagrant deviation from the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism, and bringing to light their real features as renegades.
Consequently, the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists everywhere are organizing, creating new groups and parties, which are fighting with determination against revisionism, in defence of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Togliatti is afraid of this situation and perspective. Therefore, to avoid the complete exposure of revisionism, he demands that the polemics must be shifted from questions of principle and concentrated on discussion of second-rate matters, on day-to-day problems. What Togliatti means by this is: let everybody stick to his own ideological views and let there be no polemics over these matters of principle; the communists should not concern themselves about the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism; the process of the creation of new revolutionary groups and parties should be hindered in every way; the revisionist renegades should be left in peace in their activity so that they will have fewer problems and headaches in putting into practice their opportunist line, the line of giving up revolutionary struggle, the line of the liquidation of revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, the line of alliances with the bourgeoisie and imperialism. But for all the efforts of Togliatti and company to divert and quell it, the great polemic which is going on today between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism can never be stopped. This polemics will cease only when modern revisionism has been totally destroyed. The Marxist-Leninists consider it their lofty internationalist duty to carry this
ideological struggle, which has vital importance for the fate of the communist and revolutionary movement, through to the end. Togliatti is dissatisfied, not only with the way in which the Khrushchev group has conducted the polemic against the Marxist-Leninist parties, but also with the practical steps which it has undertaken to put its treacherous revisionist policy into practice. As «positive» but «inadequate» steps in this direction, Togliatti mentions the signing of the notorious Moscow Treaty on the partial prohibition of nuclear tests and the visit of Khrushchev to Egypt. He demands that similar «practical» steps be taken more often, both by the Khrushchevite revisionists and by those of other countries. Thus, Togliatti and his Italian revisionist comrades,
who have capitulated completely to the atomic blackmail of imperialism, are appealing to the Khrushchev group to reject any «senseless hesitation» and to proceed more quickly down the road of rapprochement with and capitulationist concessions to the imperialists, as they did on the
occasion of the signing of the tripartite pact over nuclear tests. But the policy of capitulation to imperialist blackmail, of unprincipled concessions to the imperialists and deals with them has not led to the lowering of international tension and has not averted the danger of war as the revisionists, who are scared stiff, think, but on then contrary, has whetted the appetite of the imperialists and
increased their aggressiveness, as is shown by the aggressive actions of the US imperialists in South-east Asia, their ceaseless provocations in West Berlin, the increase in their piratical acts against Cuba, and so on, during these recent months. Indeed even Togliatti himself is obliged to admit
in his memorandum that the international situation is worse now than it was two or three years ago.
In his «testament» Togliatti urges the revisionists, wherever they happen to be, to step up their efforts against the Marxist-Leninist parties and their authority and influence in the world. He is especially worried about the ever-greater influence of Marxist-Leninists in the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, or the «third world», as Togliatti calls these zones. Therefore he recommends
that the revisionist groups must intervene more actively in these zones, with the aim of combating the positions of Marxist-Leninist parties there and liquidating their influence. He proposes «…an international meeting called by a number of Western communist parties, with a widerange
of representatives of democratic countries of the ’third world’ and their progressive movements, for the purpose of working out a concrete line of collaboration with and aid for these movements.»
Why are Togliatti and his henchmen so worried about the situation in the so-called third world? Is there not a powerful, anti-imperialist national liberation movement developing in these countries? Or perhaps this is just what is worrying them? Now the whole world knows that the Marxist-Leninist parties are the true and most resolute supporters of the national liberation struggles of the peoples
of Asia, Africa and Latin America, dauntless fighters against imperialism for the peoples’ freedom and independence.
Therefore, to rise in opposition to the line which these parties follow, to try to eliminate their influence among the peoples who have risen in struggle against imperialism, as Togliatti demands, means, in fact, to rise in opposition to the peoples’ anti-imperialist liberation struggle. And the facts prove that the aim of the line of all modern revisionists, from Tito to Khrushchev and Togliatti, has always been to use various pretexts and manoeuvres to hold back and paralyze the liberation struggle of the enslaved peoples against imperialism. It is precisely Togliatti who has declared more than once that «the colonial regime has almost completely collapsed» and that «spheres of influence of imperialism no longer exist in the world». It is precisely the Italian revisionists headed by Togliatti who have preached collaboration between socialist countries and the «leading classes of capitalist countries» for the creation of an order «in which all the aspirations of mankind and the peoples for freedom, well-being and independence can be satisfied». It is precisely they who have sought «common initiatives» between states with differing systems, especially in Europe, «to carry out joint intervention to help the less developed regions progress». That is how Togliatti understands assistance for the peoples who are fighting imperialism!
Continuing his idea on how the Marxist-Leninist parties can be combated more successfully, in his «testament», Togliatti expresses reservations about whether a meeting of communist parties, which would have the aim of condemning and excommunicating the CP of China, the PLA, and other parties and the definitive splitting of the communist movement, is useful and opportune. The Togliattists consider such a tactic of the renegade group of Khrushchev wrong and very harmful to the revisionist cause.
Togliatti considers the calling of a meeting to carry through and sanction the splitting of the communist movement very dangerous, because it would enhance the struggle of the Marxist-Leninists against the revisionists throughout the world, would accelerate the process of differentiation in the ranks of the world communist movement and the unification of the Marxist-Leninist forces, and would thus bring the inevitable end of the revisionists closer. «The danger would become especially serious,» writes Togliatti, «if it came to the point of the splitting of the movement, with the formation of a Chinese international centre which would create its ’sections’ in all countries. All the parties,
and especially the weakest ones, would tend to devote the greater part of their activity to the polemics and struggle against these so-called ’sections’ of a new ’International’… It is true that even today the factional efforts of the Chinese are taking place on a wide-scale and in almost all countries. We should avoid turning the quantity of these efforts into quality, that is, into a true, general, and sanctioned split.»
As a veteran of the Comintern, Palmiro Togliatti well knows the strength of the organization of the Marxist- Leninists of the world and he is very much afraid of it. Although he tries to belittle the new Marxist Leninist parties and groups that are emerging, moulding themselves, and becoming stronger everywhere in the world, he is very much afraid of them, foreseeing the grave danger looming for modern revisionism. With this he wants to tell the Khrushchevites, who rely on their arrogance, who are intoxicated and blinded by their «economic and military potential», who rely blindly on the prestige of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, not to forget the lessons of history, the lessons of the experience of the international communist movement, not to forget the ignominious defeat
which the 3rd International inflicted on the opportunists and revisionists of the 2nd International. Hence, Togliatti is telling Khrushchev and his supporters: give up this «meeting», refrain from a definitive split, because we are hastening our own catastrophe, and we can avoid this catastrophe by acting differently!
These two different tactics of the revisionists are dictated by the different conditions in which they are acting.
Khrushchev and his group, who have seized state power in the Soviet Union, think that they can cope with the crisis, which a complete split in the communist movement would cause, by using harsh police methods, persecution and oppression against the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists who are rising and will rise against the revisionists’ treacherous line. While the Togliattists, who operate in a capitalist country and do not have state power in their hands, and consequently cannot prevent the activity of Marxist- Leninists with such methods, oppose the extremist methods of Khrushchev for a complete split in the communist movement, hoping thus to avert the catastrophe, and with other, more flexible and «democratic» methods and manoeuvres to paralyze the organization and struggle of revolutionary communists. But neither the brutal methods used by Khrushchev and his group nor the «refined» tactics which Togliatti proposes can stop the inevitable process of the gathering and organization of revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces, cannot avert the complete and final defeat of modern revisionism.
The Togliattists come out against the aims of Khrushchev and his group for a final break and cutting off of all relations with the PR of China and other fraternal socialist countries for another reason, too. They are frightened by the ultrareactionary tendencies which are becoming more pronounced every day, both in the USA (Goldwater) and in Western Europe. «We think that we ought to bear this situation in mind in our whole attitude,» writes Togliatti in his «testament». «The unity of all the socialist forces in joint action, overriding the ideological differences, against
the most reactionary groups of imperialism, is an absolute necessity. The exclusion of China and the Chinese communists from this unity is unthinkable.» From what Togliatti says, it emerges that what he is concerned about is not in the least the fact that the communist movement and the socialist camp have been disrupted, nor the finding of ways to overcome the profound differences of principle which have emerged in their ranks.
No, he demands that the polemics against the Marxist- Leninist parties must be carried on ceaselessly, indeed, as we have shown above, he even recommends more effective ways and means to struggle against them. But he is afraid of the «madmen», proposes that a more flexible, more cautious course should be followed, that in view of the difficult days that may come in the future they should not burn all their bridges with 700-million strong People’s China. This is an opportunist stand typical of the Italian bourgeoisie, which has a tradition of swapping its alliances and its «shirts» at decisive moments as readily as a sultan would change his wives. Togliatti’s assertions that he is allegedly concerned about the struggle against the common enemy — imperialism, as well as his proposal to coordinate joint actions together with the PH of China in this struggle, are demagogy from start to finish, calculated to deceive people. What unity and collaboration on the basis of the struggle against imperialism can there be with the modern revisionists, whether Togliattist, Khrushchevite, or Titoite, who have not only rejected the struggle against imperialism, especially against the main citadel of world reaction — US imperialism, but have even tried, and still try in every way, to prettify imperialism and its chiefs, to spread pacifist illusions about it, to turn the peoples from resolute struggle against it, and indeed, have gone so far as to conclude scandalous agreements with the imperialists and various reactionaries, contrary to the vital interests of the socialist countries and peace? There can be unity and collaboration in the struggle against imperialism only with the Marxist-
Leninists and with all the forces that genuinely take an anti-imperialist position, who demonstrate this with deeds and not just with words, but never with the revisionists who are the offspring of imperialism and in its service.
TOGLIATTI SEEKS FURTHER DEGENERATION OF THE
SOCIALIST COUNTRIES AND COMMUNIST PARTIES
The final notes of Togliatti are a clear expression of the differences which exist between various revisionist groupings in connection with the courses and rates of development of modern revisionism in theory and practice. Togliatti heaps criticism on the Khrushchev group
and its followers because they are proceeding at a very slow pace on the course of the «democratic and liberal transformation» of life in the socialist countries. He demands that they should proceed more rapidly, more openly, with greater determination on the course of the degeneration
of the socialist order. Togliatti again raises the old question which he, together with the renegade Tito, had raised in 1956, at the time of the counter-revolution in Hungary, about the «origin of the cult of the individual of Stalin». He writes, «… generally speaking, the problem of the origin of the cult
of Stalin and how it was made possible is considered unsolved. People in the West, and many communist sympathizers among them,» says Togliatti, «do not accept that it can all be explained ’simply with the grave personal vices of Stalin’. Efforts are made to track down what might have been the political mistakes which contributed to the birth of this cult». It is obvious that in raising the issue of the sources of Stalin’s «cult of the individual» in this way, Togliatti is demanding fundamental changes in the very foundations of the socialist order, in the main principles of the organization of this order and the policy of the socialist construction that was followed in the Soviet Union in the time of Stalin’s leadership.
But what does Togliatti want concretely?
This comes out very clearly in an interview which he gave to the correspondent of the American magazine «Time» immediately after the elections of April 28, 1963 in Italy, which was published for the first time after the death of Togliatti* as a document which includes many of the theses developed later in the Yalta memorandum of Togliatti. In this interview Togliatti quite openly criticizes the policy of the nationalization of capitalist industry, the collectivization of agriculture, and the leadership of a single party, etc., in other words, the fundamental line of socialist organization and construction which was followed during the period of Stalin’s leadership in the Soviet Union. He demands that such a line must be rejected and that «Stalin’s mistakes must not be repeated». It is not in the least fortuitous that in his memorandum Togliatti demands the organization of «public discussions » from time to time in the socialist countries, in which «leading figures who have varying viewpoints» about the problems of socialist construction should take part and express their «original» opinions in regard to the ways and methods of development of the socialist economy. It is not hard to see what Togliatti is driving at. It is known that such «discussions» are being held now in the Soviet Union in connection with the ways to introduce the principle of «profit» into the Soviet enterprises, a thing which constitutes a step towards the application in the Soviet economy of the experience of the Tito clique about the so-called workers’ self-administration. This is the road to the capitalist degeneration of the socialist economy. And Togliatti issues the call for more rapid and bolder advance precisely down this road.
But in the first place and above all, for Togliatti, for all the Italian revisionists and those who, openly or secretly, tag along after them, the «process of de-Stalinization» in the countries where the revisionists rule is not satisfactory and is not being carried out as rapidly as it should.
* «Unità», September 18, 1964.
«The problem which commands the greatest attention today, in regard to both the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries,» he says in his «testament», «is especially that of overcoming the regime of restriction and suppression of democratic and personal rights which was established by Stalin… The general impression is that there is a slowness and resistance to returning to the Leninist norms which ensure extensive freedom of expression and discussion inside the party and outside it, in the field of culture and art, as well as in the political field.» Thus, with the process of «de-Stalinization», Togliatti means the radical transformation at accelerated rates, in theory and practice, of the regime, of the system, of the internal and foreign policies of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries of Europe, with the aim that these countries should be turned from the right road of the construction of socialism on a scientific Marxist-Leninist basis, to countries with a liberal, social-democratic, state capitalist order. In other words, Togliatti demands that the road, which Khrushchev and the 20th Congress of the CPSU opened towards the degeneration of the Soviet Union from a socialist country to a bourgeois liberal country, must not be interrupted, the process must not be slowed down, but on the contrary, must be accelerated. According to the Italian revisionists, for this process
to advance, the Soviet system which allegedly gave birth to «Stalin’s cult of the individual» must be discredited completely, both politically and ideologically, Stalin, who allegedly perverted Marxism-Leninism, «created the most savage dictatorship known to mankind», caused «great
harm» with the «unnecessary» and «barbarous» class struggle, and «made the Soviet Union a fearsome spectre to the world bourgeoisie, to social-democracy,» etc., must be discredited.
In reality, the Khrushchev group and its followers are completely at one in principle with Togliatti, and are proceeding precisely on the anti-Soviet road he preaches. The fact is that in the Soviet Union, in the context of «liberalization» and «democratization» of the social order, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the proletarian party are being liquidated, It is known, also, that in the Soviet Union and in some former countries of people’s democracy, the doors have been opened wide to the spread of all sorts of anti-socialist and decadent bourgeois trends in the field of culture and art. These things are no longer a secret to anyone. But to advance on this course with rapid steps is something very delicate and accompanied with a number of negative consequences for the revisionists themselves, and this is what forces Khrushchev and his group to show more restraint and caution than Togliatti would like. They are obliged to show more caution and restraint because to go at the gallop down the road of liberal-bourgeois degeneration of the socialist order would quickly expose them to the masses as the renegades from socialism who are restoring capitalism, which they are in fact. Apart from this, it seems that the Khrushchev group is afraid to allow the extremist revisionist elements much rope by giving them complete freedom of speech and action, because they will bring troubles upon its own head, as has occurred in fact with a number of writers in the Soviet Union who began to demand an accounting even from Khrushchev himself over the so-called «crimes» of the Stalin era. In the final analysis, the Khrushchev group and its revisionist followers in other countries cannot be for unrestricted «liberalization», because such a thing would face them with the problem of freedom of speech and action also for the sound revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist elements who oppose their revisionist line. But it is known that the Khrushchev group and its supporters have established the
most severe censorship and the harshest police regime against Marxist-Leninists.
Naturally Togliatti and the Togliattists hail the steps undertaken in the Soviet Union and a number of other socialist countries for the degeneration of the socialist order and the widespread introduction of bourgeois ideological influences as «very positive». However, according to them, this process is being carried out very slowly, with zigzags, and stops and starts, and is encountering the resistance of «the old»; they need matters to go more quickly on the road of the complete liquidation of the «harmful consequences of the dictatorship of the proletariat», on the road of the capitalist degeneration in the socialist economy, in the field of culture and art, and all other fields. They
want the process of degeneration in the CPSU, which has now become a «party of the entire people», to advance more rapidly, and demand that it should become completely a party of the type of the ICP, without rules, without discipline, «free», «democratic», with factions and tendencies of every kind included in it. In a word, Togliatti recommends to the Khrushchevite revisionists that the reforms undertaken for the liberalization of the party should be taken further, that the CPSU and the parties of the republics which form it should have great freedom (even the present «dogmatic» forms which the Khrushchevite revisionists use must be rejected) and the best of all possible
blessings would be if they went even from the old «dogmatic» system of one party to the multi-party system.
According to the Togliattists, this would be the culmination of «socialist democracy» (they don’t quite say that «Lenin had long dreamed of this,» but Stalin had hindered the realization of this «dream of Lenin’s» for dozens of years on end! But they may get around to saying it one day).
Togliatti and all the Italian revisionists, who operate in a capitalist country, don’t want to take account of the special conditions and difficulties which the Khrushchevites and the other revisionists run into, which stop them going full tilt down the road of degeneration. The Togliattists want the process of degeneration in the Soviet Union, and consequently also in the other socialist countries of Europe to be speeded up, because only in this way will the capitalist world no longer be afraid of the Soviet Union, of socialism, of communism, because only in this way will the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois intellectuals be convinced that the «devil is not as ugly as they say,» that socialism is: not so unacceptable to them (and even if up till now there have been things in the socialist countries unacceptable to the bourgeoisie, these have been the «distortions» of Stalin!).
Hence it is possible to talk about building a «new system of world socialism» with «Marxists», with «socialists», with social-democrats, with Christian Democrats, with capitalists, on the «peaceful» road, without class struggle, without the dictatorship of the proletariat, without destroying the old state power of the bourgeoisie, but by means of «structural reforms», on the parliamentary road, acting according to the laws of bourgeois Constitutions, etc., etc. But, since the principles of transition to «socialism» in such «democratic» and «peaceful» ways were accepted at the 20th Congress, the Italian revisionists argue, then they should be applied in a consistent manner, not only in words but in deeds, and it devolves on the Khrushchevite and other revisionists to set the example for the whole world, to remove the «democrats’» fears by proving that they are wiping out the «spectre of Stalinism» in deeds and have changed the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries into social-democratic paradises, into countries of «popular socialism», acceptable to all the democrats of the world!
Togliatti also expresses dissatisfaction and pretensions regarding the problems of the development of revisionism in the Western countries. «We have always been of the opinion,
» he writes, «that it is not correct to present the workers’ and communist movement of the Western countries always in optimistic colours. In this world, even although there has been some progress here and there, our development and our strength, to this very day, are inappropriate to the tasks before us.»
This is a truly interesting admission. It is known that in the overwhelming majority of these countries, the leadership of the communist parties is in the hands of revisionist elements who proceed on the same opportunist and anti-Marxist course advocated by Togliatti, Tito, and Khrushchev and company. Togliatti’s admission shows to what a pretty pass the trend of modern revisionism has brought the communist movement. And what does Togliatti want? What does he recommend to pull the communist movement of the Western world out of this unpleasant situation? The most elementary logic demands that the first decisive step in this direction should be the rejection of the revisionist anti-revolutionary line which has dragged the prestige and authority
of the communist and workers’ parties in the West down to ground level and has led to the alienation and isolation of the communists from the masses. However, Togliatti recommends precisely the opposite: he demands that they go even further down the revisionist road of the 20th Congress of the CPSU. «In general,» he writes, «in compiling our policy, we set out, and we are convinced that we should set out, from the positions of the 20th Congress. But today, even these positions require deepening and development. »Concretely he demands that all the forces and efforts of the communist and workers’ parties in the Western countries should be directed towards the «peaceful» and «legal» forms of struggle, following the example of the socalled «Italian road» to socialism (the demand for the working out and putting into practice of an «overall plan of economic development» in the interests of workers «to be counterposed to the capitalist program» which is in the interests of big monopolies, for the «democratization» of the management of economic life in the capitalist countries, etc., etc.). «For example,» writes Togliatti, «a more profound judgement on the theme of the possibility of a peaceful transition to socialism impels us to define more precisely what we mean by democracy in a bourgeois state, how can the limits of freedom and democratic institutions be expanded, and what will be the most effective forms of the participation of the masses of workers and working people in economic and political life. The question arises of the possibility of the working class winning positions of power within the framework of a state which has not changed its nature as a bourgeois state, and consequently, whether the struggle from within for a progressive transformation of this nature would be possible. In countries where the communist movement has become strong, as in our country (and in France), this is emerging as the fundamental question in political life today.»
We have had occasion previously, especially in the article «About the Theses for the 10th Congress of the ICP» published in «Zëri i popullit» on 17 and 18 November, 1962, to dwell in detail on the analysis of the so-called Italian road to socialism, and to prove that it is characterized by flagrant departure from the fundamental teachings of Marxism-Leninism about the class struggle, the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, that it is an utterly opportunist and revisionist «road» identical with the preachings of Bernstein, Kautsky, and other opportunists of the past, of the right-wing socialists, the Tito clique, and other renegades of the present time. And it is precisely
the further deepening of this treacherous line of negation of the revolution, of weaning the communist parties and masses of working people away from revolutionary struggle, that Togliatti recommends as the way out of the crisis into which modern revisionism has led the communist movement in the West!
Togliatti also wants them to renounce anything that might hinder the alliances of the revisionists with the liberal bourgeoisie, the bourgeois intellectuals, the Christian Democrats, the social-democrats, and all their other «allies» on the «democratic Italian road to socialism». He mentions as an example the absolute need to renounce the «ancient atheist formula», in other words, the principled struggle against religion and the reactionary policy of the Vatican, as well as the struggle for the principles of Marxism in the fields of culture, art, science and philosophy. In fact, this is the line of the political and ideological degeneration of the communist and workers’ parties in the Western countries, of turning them into parties of the social-democratic type. To complete the picture, we shall add here that at the same time the leadership of the ICP headed by Togliatti has long been following the policy of the organizational degeneration of the proletarian party, changing it gradually from a militant, organized and disciplined revolutionary vanguard of the working class into an amorphous organization, with no clear-cut limits, without a sound party discipline, which anyone can enter or
leave as it pleases him, and where the supreme duty of a party member is considered to be that he gives his vote to the Communist Party in the parliamentary or other elections which are held in the capitalist countries. Thus, willy-nilly, the Italian revisionists regretfully admit that their road of betrayal has brought them no gains. On the contrary, not only are the revisionist parties in the capitalist countries far from taking power through the «parliamentary» road, but they are even losing those seats which they had in the past in the bourgeois parliaments; not only are they quite unable to consolidate their old alliances and create new ones with the Socialists, the Christian Democrats, the social-democrats, etc., but those they have had have fallen apart, by means of their «structural» reforms and covering under bourgeois constitutions, they have not only «failed to marry the priest’s daughter but they are not even accepted in the village». And above all, they see that the resistance of opponents within the party is increasing from day to day, and that outside the
party, Marxist-Leninist groups are being formed which are growing and becoming stronger and will turn into new Marxist-Leninist parties. For the revisionists the outlook is disastrous because they can see their utter defeat as a not distant prospect. With this situation in mind, the cry of alarm which
Togliatti sends out to the other revisionists, especially to the Soviet revisionists headed by Khrushchev, is quite understandable. He demands that the tactics of the struggle against the «dogmatists» must be changed, and at the same time, demands the speeding up of the degeneration of the socialist countries and further rapprochement with the bourgeoisie and imperialism; according to Togliatti, the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries ought to provide the «good example» of the complete liquidation of the «Stalinist anomaly» and the creation of a «democratic» and «liberal» socialism of the type that the right-wing social-democratic chiefs advocate, which they even claim they have achieved in a number of European capitalist countries! Thus, for the sake of the triumph of the «Italian road to socialism», for the sake of their alliances with the bourgeoisie, the social-democrats, the Christian Democrats, etc.; Togliatti and all the Italian revisionists demand that the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries must be sacrificed, that the triumph of the Great October Socialist
Revolution and the people’s revolutions in the other countries, achieved through the struggle and bloodshed of the peoples, must be liquidated. This is a great anti-Soviet and anti-socialist plot, which reveals the real, traitorous features of the Togliatti revisionists. However, as was inevitable, these demands of Togliatti have run into opposition from the Khrushchev group, which now finds itself in a difficult situation. It has gone a very long way down the road of betrayal and is neither willing nor able to turn back, because such a thing would mean utter defeat and complete liquidation for it. But neither can it advance at the accelerated rates that Togliatti demands, because this would speed up its complete exposure and defeat. Faced with this difficult situation, the Khrushchev group opposes the line of Togliatti and tries to impose its own line on the Togliattists, by relying on the power of the
«ruble» and on the military power and authority of the USSR and the CPSU.
All this shows that, although they are all treading the one path of betrayal, between the revisionists there is not and cannot be unity, that the differences among them are incapable of solution, but will become steadily deeper and deeper, disrupting and fragmenting the revisionist front.
POLYCENTRISM AND MONOCENTRISM— TWO ANTI-MARXIST TENDENCIES IN THE RANKS OF MODERN REVISIONISM
The other important question which Togliatti raises in his «testament» is the so-called theory of polycentrism, which is counterposed to the monocentrist line of Khrushchev and his group.
The line of the Khrushchev group is the line of banging the fist on the table, not only towards the Marxist-Leninist parties, but also towards other revisionists, the line of stern dictate to force all to obey the Khrushchev group unconditionally and humbly approve its policy of great-state chauvinism
and the «mother party». Whereas the polycentrist line of Togliatti is a typical expression of a liberal, opportunist, social-democratic policy, which wants to get rid of any imposition from the Khrushchev group, and not only for the ICP but also for all the other revisionists, both in the capitalist world and in the socialist countries. As far as Togliatti is concerned, «Moscow» is no longer, and must not be able to run the international communist movement. The authority of the CPSU should be eliminated, according to Togliatti, because this is an «anachronism», a «dangerous hang-over from the cult of Stalin». The Khrushchev group must give up its leadership and domination of the international communist movement, must give up its monopoly of keeping all the other parties tied to the CPSU, give up the privilege that it, alone, is authorized to maintain links with the small communist and workers’ parties, to have meetings and contacts with them, and to give them orders and advice. Indeed he does not want to allow the CPSU and the Soviet government even the privilege that they alone should have contacts and develop policies with non-communist, nationalist, progressive government
elements from the backward countries. Togliatti demands the existence of a number of centres of political and ideological leadership and activity, especially in the capitalist world. And concretely, in his opinion, these centres should be the Italian, French Communist parties and the Communist Party of Spain. These two lines were expressed with special clarity in the differing attitudes towards the meeting of communist and workers’ parties proposed by the Khrushchev group.
This group has decided to call the international meeting of communist and workers’ parties as soon as possible, and thus sanction the complete and open splitting of the communist movement, and to establish its hegemony, to lay down the law, and dictate its line to the revisionist parties, to subject all the revisionists to its dictate, and impose its own «charter» on them. Whereas the Italian revisionists oppose the meeting proposed by Khrushchev for the above purposes, and are doing everything they can to have their polycentrist thesis accepted, because they do not want to be subject to any dictate, do not want to tie their own hands with any sort of joint decisions, but have the tendency to proceed without any sort of «common charter», even though it may be completely revisionist.
In his «testament» Togliatti clearly expresses these hesitations and tendencies. He says, «in our party we still have doubts and reservations about whether the international conference is opportune…», or «indeed we might even fear that the adoption of rigid general formulae may be a hindrance», «thus we would be opposed to any proposal to create another centralized international organization». Therefore Togliatti suggests that instead of the international meeting «we should proceed with a series of meetings with groups of parties… in the various sectors of our movement (West Europe, the countries of Latin America, countries of the ’third world’ and their contacts
with the communist movement of the capitalist countries, the countries of people’s democracy, etc.).» According to Togliatti, this would be a better way to fight the Marxist- Leninist parties. «Finally,» continues Togliatti, «once our tasks and political line have been thoroughly defined, sector by sector, the international conference might be called off, if this is considered necessary to avoid a formal split,» which, as we pointed out above, the Togliattists fear as the devil fears holy water.
But while expressing his opposition to a general meeting, in his «testament» Togliatti stresses: «Unquestionably, we shall take part, and an active part, in the preparatory meeting.» This apparently contradictory stand of the Togliatti revisionists is in complete conformity with their line and aims. The preliminary, preparatory meeting does not tie the leadership of the ICP to any sort of pledge or obligation, while on the other hand, it gives it the possibility to put forward its own platform, differing from that of the Khrushchev group, in the hope that it might find support, and even convince the Khrushchev group on a series of questions. But such a stand by Togliatti and the leaders of the
ICP to take part in the preparatory meeting is also in the interests of the Khrushchev group and suits their purposes. As the Western press commented, such an «original» stand creates a precedent for those communist and workers’ parties which, up to now, are wavering about whether or not to take part in the meeting of December 15, by «arguing» that you may quite well take part in a meeting with the mission of which you are not in agreement! While they express their opposition to the splittist meeting that Khrushchev is trying to organize, the Italian revisionists are not in the least concerned about the problem of the unity of the communist movement and the socialist camp. On the contrary, like the Khrushchev group, they, too, are for the disruption, indeed for the complete break-up of the communist movement. With their completely opportunist and social-democratic views, the Italian
revisionists have long since sown the seeds of disruption and are cultivating them with increasing care. They have waged, and are continuing to wage a stern struggle against the Marxist-Leninist parties and insist that this struggle must not be relinquished for one moment. The so-called «autonomy» which the Togliattists advocate for the socialist countries and communist parties means, as the writings of Togliatti and various documents of the leadership of the ICP bring out, that the socialist countries and communist parties should be «independent» of any Marxist- Leninist principle, of any general law, that each of them must be «free» to adopt its own «specific» road to follow «different policies», to enter into alliances and collaborate with whoever they like and as they like. The polycentrist line of the Italian revisionists, the line of the creation of different leading centres in the communist movement, is just as blatantly opposed to the ideas of unity as the Khrushchevite line of the «single command». The whole line of the Italian revisionists, who want
to get rid of any domination from the Khrushchev group, not only over the ICP, but also over all the other revisionists, who want to break up the communist movement into separate «spheres of influence», from the one angle, shows their distrust of the Khrushchev renegade group and their fear of the imminent danger of the utter defeat to which this group is leading them, whereas, from the other angle, it is an effort to avert this total catastrophe by creating groupings of revisionist parties, which, by means of various alliances and under various disguises, will save the face and extend the life of modern revisionism. To the «clumsy» tactics of Khrushchev who is endangering the existence of the whole of modern revisionism tied to the Khrushchevite chariot, the Togliattists counterpose the «’refined» tactics of many revisionist centres, so that if one is defeated the others will survive. The polycentrist position of the Italian revisionists greatly interests the imperialists, too, who, although they support the revisionist course of Khrushchev against revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, want to weaken this group even more by assisting the revisionist groupings with the «cavalry of St. George» and the «dollar», so that they go further in the race to win independence from the «ruble» and become dependent on the «dollar», with the aim of forcing the Khrushchevite leadership, in this way, to make new concessions to the imperialists on the road of the degeneration of socialism and the international communist movement.
It is natural that the Khrushchev revisionist group which stands one hundred per cent on the positions of greatstate chauvinism and paternalism in its relations with its revisionist partners, which understands very well that the Togliattists are trying to destroy its «absolute rule» and to strengthen their own positions at the expense of its interests, is fiercely opposed to and rejects the polycentrist line of Togliatti and his followers. Indeed the polemic between them, with allusions sometimes more open and sometimes disguised, has even raised its head in public. Speaking about the question of calling the international meeting of communist and: workers’ parties, Ponomaryov,1 in a speech on September 28, devoted to the centenary of the 1st International, took a stab at
the position of the Togliattists and their supporters and stressed that the independence of communist parties did not mean in the least that they should act according to the proverb, «Each frog croaks in its own pond». «The tendency to interpret the independence of parties as a retreat from the carrying out of common internationalist task’s,» continues Ponomaryov, «as a sort of ’neutrality’ when it comes to the solution of common problems, can never be considered as a sign of independence or a sign of maturity.»*
* «Pravda», September 29, 1964: At that time, secretary of the CC of the CPSU.
The facts prove that the nearer the time of the meeting proposed by the Khrushchev group approaches, the more tempers are lost and the differences among the revisionists sharpen, so much more the two opposing lines in the revisionist front come to light. But both of them are fatal to
revisionism itself. The dogmatic and dictatorial revisionist line of the Khrushchev group contains within itself the seeds of the disruption of the revisionist front because it arouses the protest of the other revisionist groupings and increases their efforts to escape from the brutal dictate of Khrushchev and his group. This line has led and is leading to the isolation of this group from its revisionist partners. The polycentrist, revisionist and liberal line of Togliatti, which advocates the
dispersal of the «single command» of the Khrushchev group in the struggle against revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, also contains the seed of the disruption of the revisionist groupings,
hence of their inevitable defeat and break-up also.
RESOLUTE AND PRINCIPLED STRUGGLE AGAINST ALL
REVISIONIST TRENDS — A SACRED DUTY OF REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNISTS
Togliatti’s «testament» and many other facts testify clearly that the revisionists’ front has been split and that this split is becoming deeper and will become deeper still in the future. The contradictions in the ranks of the revisionists are not something unusual, but entirely natural
phenomena, because the revisionists are people without principle, because whether Khrushchevite, Togliattist, Titoite, or of any other brand, they are lackeys of the bourgeoisie and their theories are variants of bourgeois ideology, hence they contain the seed of contradictions, of nationalism, separatism, and splits. There can be genuine unity of thought and action only on the basis of the Marxist- Leninist ideology and proletarian internationalism, which the revisionists have betrayed and abandoned. Consequently, amongst the modern revisionists, in their overall struggle against Marxism-Leninism, which they will always continue obstinately, there will be forms, nuances, alliances, prompted and inspired by all sorts of general factors, temporary and chance, co-ordinated and disconnected, and there will be various contradictions and differing tactics.
Togliatti’s «testament» brings out that there are now at least two different tactical lines in regard to the struggle against Marxism-Leninism crystallizing in the revisionist camp: the monocentrist line of the Khrushchev group and the polycentrist line of Togliatti. These differences between the Khrushchevites and their associates and the Togliattists and their associates are not new; they came out in the open immediately after the 20th Congress of the CPSU. All the revisionists unanimouslym endorsed the 20th Congress. But while some of them described it as «complete» and «adequate» for that time, the Togliattists showed that they were the «most radical revisionists and wanted and demanded that the «analysis» should go «deeper». For propaganda effect and demagogy, and from fear of a deep and immediate split in the international communist movement, the Khrushchevite revisionists acted in a more cautious manner, tried to quieten things down, but without managing to convince the Togliattists, who, without making this a matter of «conflict», developed their own rightist views, of course, while at the same time supporting and endorsing the 20th Congress and later the 22nd Congress of the CPSU. This relative «silence» of the Italian revisionists, or, so to say, their inclusion in the general «euphoria» among the revisionists, was due to their aim of first consolidating these revisionist positions in the ranks of the international communist movement, to ensure that the «poison pill» was swallowed, and then to take further steps, in theory and practice, on the road of revisionism and degeneration. It can be said that in the method of starting their work of betrayal the Khrushchevite renegades were more restrained, more cautious, more wily, more demagogic, while the Togliattists, in their equally treacherous work, were less cautious and more adventurous. To «quieten down» Togliatti and company, the Khrushchev group used the French «communists» to put pressure on them, which they did in fact, and several times the «fire» of their polemic reached the ears of the public.
Although the traitor group of Khrushchev, who had been working secretly in the ranks of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, were aware that the revisionists’ betrayal would not remain for long without being detected, unmasked and combated, still they showed themselves very naive. The Khrushchevite revisionists believed, especially in the beginning, that everything would go on smoothly, without any great opposition. They had great faith in their demagogy, thought that the prestige of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would cover their betrayal and they relied on the great economic potential of the Soviet Union, on the others’ dependence on Soviet economic credits and their military alliances. The Soviet leaders, headed by Khrushchev, also believed that their «partners» — the various imperialists, and the US imperialists in the first place, would readily agree to their «peace proposals» to «put the world in order». But the modern revisionists were quite unable to realize any of these aims and others like them as they wished. The principled struggle of the PLA, as well as of all the Marxist-Leninists of the world and of all progressive people seriously hindered them. And the obstacles are increasing from day to day and will go on doing so. The modern revisionists, with the Khrushchevite revisionists at the head, have gone far down the road of betrayal and they will go further. But now they have been exposed in the eyes of the whole world, in the eyes of the international communist movement. The struggle of our Marxist-Leninist parties has become a great and mortal danger to them. Therefore, now they have to take serious account of our struggle which is mounting and becoming very threatening to the revisionists. The great, just and principled struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties not only tore the mask from the revisionists and ruined their plans, but it also created insurmountable difficulties for them, and also led to the sharpening of latent contradictions and the birth of new ones amongst them. Seeing that their cunning tactics have all failed, including their lies, demagogy, blandishments and threats, their economic blockades, their breaking off of diplomatic relations and their slanderous accusations of being «nationalists», «splitters», «renegades», «agents of imperialism», etc., the Khrushchevite revisionists and their supporters see no other way than to link themselves more closely with imperialism and carry the splitting of the international communist movement to its conclusion. In these conditions, the Khrushchev group wants to call the meeting of all the revisionist groupings in Moscow and there to dictate to them their will as renegade splitters and to incorporate them afresh in the continuation of a «more organized» struggle against revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, using all their means (including the «new weapon of extermination» which Khrushchev mentioned recently against the PR of China and the fraternal socialist countries). This is the desperate and hopeless struggle of a
traitor clique. The acolytes of Khrushchev are in a great dilemma. They do not want to be eliminated and quickly driven from the scene, do not want to stake everything on one card, but want to extend their lives and serve the international bourgeoisie longer. Therefore, differences between the revisionists are emerging and, at these moments of a great and unavoidable crisis for them, these contradictions are becoming markedly more abrasive. The contradictions between the Khrushchevites and the polycentrist Italian revisionists are showing up as the most acute. These two tendencies are confronting and attacking each other over the Khrushchevite plan of calling the international meeting of communist and workers’ parties. The revisionists of various countries are grouping themselves around these two main tactical lines. In fact, the line of Togliatti has caused quite a disturbance in the revisionist frog pond. Some are openly supporting this line of Togliatti, some approve it in a low voice since they have rubles sticking in their throats, some others criticize parts
of it, while supporting it in other directions. On their part, the Italian revisionists have sent delegations to many countries to explain their position, to win the maximum number of allies for their tactics.
It is more than clear that, regardless of what tactics are used by the revisionists of all shades, from Khrushchev to Togliatti, Tito and the rest of them, they all have one aim and concern in common: to intensify the struggle against Marxism-Leninism, against the revolution and socialism, to consolidate the positions of revisionism and extend its life. They are trying to put out the flames of the struggle of the Marxist-Leninists against them, to bring about the cessation of the great polemic over principles which is going on today, to hinder the creation of genuinely revolutionary groups and parties. In this struggle and for these aims they are united, act on the one front. The differences between them are not over questions of strategy, but over questions of tactics, over how to make their struggle against Marxism- Leninism more effective and how to achieve their objectives more easily.
Having no illusions about the tactical manoeuvres of the revisionists, the Marxist-Leninists and all the revolutionaries consider the resolute and consistent struggle against all trends of modern revisionism, the struggle for the unmasking of their counter-revolutionary plans and aims to be their sacred duty. This struggle is guided by the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, which constitute the compass
and the tested weapon for every true revolutionary. In sowing all sorts of illusions about the possibility of resolving the differences, even assuming the pose of enemies of imperialism and opponents of Khrushchev, the pose of fighters for unity, the modern revisionists’ objective is to deceive the communists, to hide their real faces and aims. But these deceptive manoeuvres will not succeed.
Only the communist parties and all revolutionaries who stand firmly on the positions of the ideology of the working class are and can be genuine fighters against Khrushchevite revisionism, for genuine Marxist-Leninist unity. Revisionism cannot be fought from revisionist positions, just as genuine unity cannot be established on a revisionist basis. In this struggle the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries also have allies, with whom they are united on a number of issues. But while uniting with them in struggle, the Marxist-Leninists do not make concessions over principles, do not hide their revolutionary line, and have the duty of making this line and these principles clear to all.
It is a different matter with those like the Togliattists and their ilk, who, although they have contradictions with Khrushchev and his associates, remain consistent revisionists whose main aim is the struggle against Marxism-Leninism. Regardless of the contradictions among them, all these revisionists are enemies of the revolution and communism. Undoubtedly, the contradictions amongst the revisionists are in our favour and should be exploited, because they weaken the revisionist front. The continuous, consistent, and principled struggle against modern revisionism will make these contradictions ever deeper and more acute, but the Marxist-Leninists have no illusions about the revisionists, are not deceived by their demagogy and do not fall into the traps they try to set for them.
Modern revisionism is the main enemy in the international communist and workers’ movement. The group around Khrushchev is the head of modern revisionism, and its most powerful detachment. From this group, which has seized the leadership of the party founded by Lenin and of the first socialist state in the world — the Soviet Union, comes the greatest and most serious danger today.
Therefore the struggle against this group, for its exposure and defeat, is the fundamental task of all Marxist-Leninist parties and revolutionary communists throughout the world. Apart from the Khrushchev group, the other revisionist groups, and especially the Togliattists and Titoites also represent a great danger. Titoism is an important part of modern revisionism in power, which has behind it an imperialist great power, which directs and assists it — US imperialism. The voice of the Titoites is the voice of US imperialism, which sings in the ranks of international communism through the mouth of Titoism. By means of the direct activities of its agency, Titoism, which it has bought with dollars, US imperialism tries to sabotage and undermine the camp of socialism, to bring about the degeneration of the whole international communist and workers’ movement. Khrushchev rehabilitated the Tito clique, strengthened it, and somewhat reluctantly, made it a powerful
ideological and political partner which is causing him headaches, because now it is not only the Krushchevites but also the Titoites who lay down the law in the revisionists’ ranks. The Tito clique tries to incite and deepen the contradictions that have emerged in the revisionists’ ranks and to weaken the domination of the Khrushchev group over its partners, in the interests of its own egocentric line. The Tito clique also tries to bring about that the contradictions between the Khrushchev group on the one hand, and the other revisionist groups on the other hand, do not impel
these latter to return to the positions of Marxism-Leninism, but that the dissatisfied should cry on the bosom of Titoism. Tito urges the revisionists within Comecon to gain the maximum possible economic independence from the Khrushchev group. And since he, himself, is not in a position to give the «aid» and credits, he urges them to turn for «aid» to the West, to make approaches to and link up with imperialism and, on the example of Yugoslavia, «to build socialism» with the aid of US dollars!
For the Marxist-Leninists there can be no doubt that the «struggle» of the Titoites, like the «struggle» of the Togliattists against Khrushchev is a struggle amongst traitors for domination, for leadership, a struggle of different groups of revisionists against the peoples of the Soviet Union, against Marxist-Leninists and all revolutionaries, of whom they are afraid. The revisionists of different groups are all part and parcel and representatives of one retrogressive trend — modern revisionism. Whether they are large or small, powerful or weak, disguised or exposed, those who march in the vanguard or those that tag along behind, they all fight against Marxism-Leninism, some openly and with all their batteries, while others throw the stone and hide their hand, according to the situation and circumstances. Sometimes they act separately, sometimes they stick together, sometimes they divide to regroup themselves in factions, depending on the interests of the struggle against socialism or the contradictions between them. Togliatti’s «testament» shows clearly that the modern revisionists are determined to carry the struggle against Marxism-Leninism and all the revolutionary forces of the world through to the end. There is no other road for them. The consistent principled struggle of Marxist-Leninists has exposed their revisionist features, now they can no longer act under the rose but are obliged to come out in the open to defend their revisionist positions and fight the Marxist- Leninists actively. This is a great victory achieved, a victory which must be carried deeper by means of the constant strengthening of our struggle against modern revisionism, under whatever disguise or in whatever form it may present itself. As a result of the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist
parties and the revolutionary communists in the different countries, and as a result of the efforts of the revisionist leaders to preserve their positions at all costs by expelling sound communists from party ranks, the process of differentiation has taken place in the communist movement, new revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties and groups have been created. This process is still going on and will go on unceasingly. This is another great victory which has been achieved, which should be carried deeper, by defending, assisting and supporting these new revolutionary forces unreservedly in their struggle against revisionism, against all the wily manoeuvres and cunning tactics of the revisionists to smother and paralyse the revolutionary current in the communist movement. The resolute struggle of the Marxist-Leninists, the exposure of the modern revisionists, the defeats they have suffered and are suffering every day in all fields of their national and international activity, have brought about the
outburst and deepening of fierce contradictions in the ranks of modern revisionism. And this is another great victory for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism in action, which must drive forward, deepening the contradictions in the revisionist camp. For this it is essential that the resolute struggle of all Marxist-Leninists against modern revisionism of all trends must be intensified more and more.
These historic victories of Marxism-Leninism will increase and become more thorough-going from day to day.The decisive condition and guarantee of this is the principled, uncompromising struggle of all Marxist-Leninist parties and forces against the treacherous aims and activities of the modern revisionists, to bring about their complete and final defeat. Victory in this struggle inevitably belongs to Marxism-Leninism.
Works, vol. 28
(excerpt from Volume III, Selected Works)
Article published in the newspaper «Zëri i Popullit» November 13, 1964
Speech delivered at the extraordinary eighth Congress of
Soviets of the USSR.
November 29, 1937
The strength of socialist democracy lies precisely in the fact that, having arisen as a result of the victory of the proletarian dictatorship, it is growing and expanding day by day, particularly with the growth of culture among the masses. And this reflects the mighty growth of our strength.. After the complete victory of socialism in our country the democracy of the Soviet system is developing with greater force and on a wider scale than ever; and, in its turn, it serves as a powerful lever for the further acceleration of the growth of the forces of socialism. The development of democracy in our country reveals the superiority of socialist democracy over the democracy of bourgeois states.
But here I must make a slight digression and deal with a very peculiar form of “democracy”, that of German fascism.
In order to free the hands of the ruling capitalist oligarchy, the German fascists are consistently imbuing the masses, and all the members of the National-Socialist Party itself, with the following idea: “My leaders know what they want. And if they do not know, how can I know and decide?” In other words, this is “democracy” according to the principle: “Don’t dare think for yourself, it will be the worse for you.”
That is why all the Nuremburg congresses are so unlike real congresses. They are-not congresses but something else.
These “congresses” meet only to listen to two i of ‘three speeches by “Fuehrers”. No discussion or debates are permitted at these “congresses”. No decisions or resolutions are voted on. The masses are permitted to do only one thing and that is to put up with the consequences of such congresses…
A comparison between Soviet democracy and the democracy .of bourgeois countries, even in its best forms, reveals the radical difference between them and the superiority in principle of the former over the latter. One thing is clear, and that is that socialist democracy alone is democracy for the toilers, democracy for the real masses of the people who have emancipated themselves from the rule of the exploiters.
Whoever wants to convince himself of the democratic character of our system must not forget the main thing. And the main thing in the Soviet system, as you know, is what is set forth in Article 6 of the Constitution:
“The land, its deposits, waters; forests, mills, factories, mines, railways, water and air transport, banks, means of communication, large state-organized agricultural enterprises, such as state farms. (sovkhoz), machine and tractor stations and the like, as well as the principal dwelling fund in the cities and industrial localities, are state property, that is, the property of the whole people.”
Today all this belongs to the whole people. What more consistent democracy can anyone desire?
Let any other state introduce such measures. If it does we shall admit that the democracy of that state is genuine, universal democracy, such as the democracy in the U.S.S.R.
The new Constitution now gives all citizens of the U.S.S.R. equal rights. It may even be said that the former property-owners have returned-although in a special way-to the administration of property. But today, in taking part in this work through. the medium of the toilers’ Soviets, they have become immeasurably richer, for they are now taking part in the administration not of private property but of the property of the whole people.
Of course, there is a deep thought at the back of the minds of the toilers of our country on this matter. They say: “The ‘former rich’ are receiving rights, that’s not bad; but we expect, them to work honestly!”
Comrade Stalin emphasized the democratic character of our system by yet another remarkable fact. He said:.
“The Soviet government liquidated the landlord class and transferred to the peasants more than 150,000,000 hectares of former landlord, government and monastery land; and this was over and above the lands that were already in the possession of the peasants.”
We would like to see any bourgeois state, transferring to the peasants without compensation; not 150,000,000 hectares, perhaps, but only 15,000,000 hectares of landlord and other land. We would then be prepared to admit that such a state was beginning to make A serious approach to the position of real democracy, democracy for the toilers.
And yet, somehow, we do not hear that the landlords, the nobility and the monastic hierarchy, consider, from their class point of view, this transfer of land to the peasants to be “democratic”. It must be admitted that revolutionary democracy is alien to them.
In 1917, Socialists such as the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks were in power in our country. Everybody knows that they did not use their power for the purpose of transferring the land to the peasants, but for the purpose of procrastination in this matter.
Here, too, they proved to be the direct allies of the landlords and the bourgeoisie. And yet, how they boasted about their devotion to “democracy”! Hence, in our times, Menshevik and SocialistRevolutionary “democracy” plays into the bands of the capitalists, landlords, kulaks, nobility and the priests. Hence, “democracy” as conceived by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries has nothing in common with genuine democracy, which the people need so much.
One other example of Soviet democracy.
The celebrated author A; N. Tolstoi spoke here, just before me. Who does not know that this is ex “Count Tolstoy? And now? One of the best and most popular authors in the Land of Soviets is Comrade Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi.`History’is to blame for this.’ But the change was in the right direction. On this all of us, including A. N., Tolstoy himself, are agreed.
The new Constitution will consolidate our prcsfoundly democratic system more than ever. And by the fact that, side by side with the distinct reference to the definite duties of the citizens of the USSR, it firmly guarantees such right as the right to work, the right to rest and leisure, the right to material security in old age, the right to education, complete equality of rights for men and women, complete equality for the nations and races in the USSR etc., we loudly proclaim how socialist democracy should be interpreted.
Even the most perfect forms of democracy in bourgeois states are in reality very restricted and tightly compressed within”the limits of what is actually the rule of the bourgeois minority over the people. No form of democracy under capitalism extends, nor can extend, beyond the limits of the rule of the privileged minority of the bourgeoisie; it fits the rights and liberties of the people to the hard bed of Procustes.
With the aid of its ideologists and its press the bourgeoisie succeeded in acquiring for wretched capitalist democracy, the democracy of ‘the bourgeois states, fame as democracy in general, as the “above-class” form of democracy, and even as the “human” form of democracy. In this respect the dexterity of the bourgeois and Social-Democratic politicians and “theoreticians” has been brought to the perfection of that of a juggler.
In actual fact, however, not a single bourgeois state grants, or has ever granted ‘the toilers, even a fraction of the genuine democratic rights and liberties which are enjoyed by the toilers of the USSR, and which they will enjoy to an even greater degree under the new Constitution.
In the guise of “people’s democracy”, bourgeois democracy eulogizes what at best, are the extremely, restricted and extremely curtailed rights of the toilers under the bourgeois system, under which the press, the print shops, printing paper, premises, all the capital and all the power, and hence, actually all rights, belong to the ruling classes. The toilers merely get the crumbs from the rich man’s table.
Nevertheless, the workers and the other working strata of the population have learned to use even these “curtailed” bourgeois liberties, even these restricted democratic rights in their own interests for the political enlightenment of the masses, and for the preparation of the forces necessary for the impending battles. One can understand, therefore, why. the workers, and all democratic elements in capitalist countries, are waging such a determined struggle to preserve, and to enlarge, even minor bourgeoisdemocratic rights and liberties.
On the other hand, it is precisely for this, reason that,in, those countries where they have already lost confidence in, the possibility of influencing the masses the ruling bourgeois classes are adapting the fascist methods of open bourgeois, terrorist dictatorship. It may be said, of course, that one cannot hold on for long by means of terrorism and by committing endless acts of violence against the masses. But evidently the fascis bourgeoisie reasons as follows: “Even if it’s only a day, it’s mine.”
Is it surprising, therefore, that not only the workers and peasants but all honest democratic elements among the petty bourgeoisie and even among the middle bourgeoisie more and more openly refuse to support fascism and fascist-inclined groups?
The rapidity with which the pillars of fascism are being. undermined is evident from a number of facts. Not only do the fascists today refuse to tolerate any survivals of democracy, in their own countries, where, as it is, the people, are “silent, for they prosper”, but, it is characteristic that they regard. the very existence of democracy, even democracy in other countries, as a danger to themselves.
Therefore, utterly djsregarding state frontiers and violating all international laws and customs, the fascists of countries well known to. all are interfering with sword in!hand, and. with German “Heinkels” and Italian “Savoys” in the air, in the internal affairs of another country, the people of which refuse to tolerate such gentlemen. It is not without reason that certain good folk, seeing all this going on, say compassionately about the fascists: “Poor fellows, they seem to be in a desperate hurry. Pray God they don’t break their necks.”
Our attitude toward democracy as one of the most precious boons to the toilets, is ‘well known. The successes of democracy in any country are near and dear to us. We rejoice when democratic rights are won no matter where the masses of the people are marching, forward, along this road.
We can have no common language with fascism, the danger of which we do not intend either to belittle or to exaggerate. But we are heart and soul and, what is more, in actual practice, with those who are fighting the fascist reactionaries. We are entirely on the side of those who have at heart the interests of “the whole of advanced and progressive humanity”. (Stalin)
The adoption of the new Constitution will further enhance the significance of the USSR as the bulwark and beacon of democracy.
The adoption of the new Constitution, with its complete democratization of the state, which increases the possibilities of achieving further and still greater success in improving the life of the peoples of the USSR -will render invaluable assistance to international socialism, and will give an impetus to the struggle of the workers, peasants and all the oppressed for their rights, for their complete emancipation from fascism, and from capitalism, which engenders and fosters fascist regimes.
The more deeply the Stalin Constitution permeate our lives, the more widespread will be its influence as the, Constitution of socialism and of consistent. democracy, not only in the USSR, but far beyond its frontiers-and the wider will its revolutionary influence spread among the masses of the toilers who are flghting for their emancipation from fascism, imperialism and colonial oppression.
Source: V. M. Molotov, On the New Soviet Constitiution. Moscow:
Cooperative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the U.S.S.R, 1937.
Original Source: Rech tov. V. M. Molotova o novoi konstitutsii, Pravda, 30 Nov 1936, 2.
And because a man is human
He’ll want to eat, and thanks a lot
But talk can’t take the place of meat
or fill an empty pot.
So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.
And because a man is human
he won’t care for a kick in the face.
He doesn’t want slaves under him
Or above him a ruling class.
So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.
And because a worker’s a worker
No one else will bring him liberty.
It’s nobody’s work but the worker’ own
To set the worker free.
So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
Comrade, there’s a place for you.
Take your stand in the workers united front
For you are a worker too.
Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
Of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves.
The young Alexander conquered India.
Was he alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Did he not have even a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his armada
Went down. Was he the only one to weep?
Frederick the Second won the Seven Year’s War. Who
Else won it?
Every page a victory.
Who cooked the feast for the victors?
Every ten years a great man?
Who paid the bill?
So many reports.
So many questions.
Joint Statement on the Arbitrary Arrest of Dr. Sunilam and Daya Mani Barla
Resolution of Manipur State Convention on “Exploitation of Loktak Wetlands”, ALLFU and CPNRM
Worker’s Strikes on Rise in China, For a People’s Democracy
Strike of Pakistan Railway Workers’ Union, Revolutionary Democracy
The Elections of Pakistan Railways Workers Union 2012, Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz
The Marikana Massacre and the left in South Africa, Rafael Martinez
Reply to Rajimwale’s Book Review, Grover Furr
Inspiring Memories: Biographical Tribute to Comrade Homi Daji, Ram Puniyani
Well-oiled Companies, Rebecca Leber
To Download the PDF go to the site
The announcement of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela confirming the victory of Hugo Chavez, with more than 54% of the votes over the candidate of the right and the oligarchy, showed the popular support that the project led by the Bolivarian President enjoyed.
This no doubt was an election between two diametrically opposed government programs; that of Hugo Chavez, which focuses on the role of the State as regulator of the means of production and consumption; investment in social programs; a greater popular participation in public institutions; Latin American integration; the driving force for free health care and education programs; for housing; and, what disturbs the right most: state control of oil production. On the other extreme, Henrique Capriles, although he says he is in accord with the right of the popular sectors to better living conditions, does not deny that he represents the Venezuelan oligarchy that yearns to regain control of the public enterprises through their privatization and, therefore, does not deny that they oppose many of the social programs of the present government. It is also in favor of private, national and foreign capital resuming control of the Venezuelan economy.
James Petras, a respected political analyst is clear in pointing out this antagonism: “Chavez is with Latin America, he is opposed to U.S. imperialism where it shows itself and is an unconditional defender of self-determination and Latin American integration.” Capriles Radonski is in favor of free trade agreements with the U.S., he opposes regional integration, he supports the U.S. interventions in the Middle East and is a staunch defender of Israel.” And that difference is what the Venezuelan people have evaluated.
With this result the right has not been defeated. With the power that it maintains over the banks and the media, they managed to convince a large sector to support their openly neoliberal thesis. According to the first report of the CNE, with 90% of the votes counted, Chavez obtained 7,440,082 (54.4%) and Capriles Radonski, 6,151,544 votes (45%).
With Chavez’s victory, the popular sectors have won, those millions who benefit from the programs and missions that allow them to live a dignified life. The thesis of the neoliberal and privatizing oligarchy, of the banks, of transnational oil and gas corporations that yearn to go back to the past of opulence and corruption was defeated together with the U.S. Embassy and the United States Department of State.
En Marcha #1596, October 12 to 18 2012
Organ of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Here by us the deepest words
they get old like the dresses,
but I want to force a great word
to shine again, the word Party.
A man alone, close in himself,
in what can be useful? Whoever
will listen to him? Perhaps his wife,
and not always, not in public,
perhaps only in their intimacy.
The Party is a hurricane
full of feeble and faint voices
and at its gusts
the fortalices of the enemy blow up,
like eardrums at the thunder of the guns.
The misfortune is on the man when he is alone.
The bad luck is in the heart of the solitary man.
The man alone is easy prey
of all the powerful figures
and even of the weak ones provided they get in two.
But if in the Party
all the weak men meet,
surrender, enemy, die and lie!
The Party is a hand
with million fingers,
closed in on only one threating fist.
The isolated man doesn’t count,
even if he is strong
he is not able to lift a simply beam,
neither a five storied house.
But with the Party,
by supporting and standing up each other,
we will build till the heaven.
The Party is the backbon of the working class.
The Party is the immortality of our work.
The Party is the only thing, that doesn’t betray.
Today I am an arm salesclerk,
I will cancel the reigns from the paper.
Brain and exertion,
vigour and glory of the class:
that is the Party.
The Party and Lenin are twin brothers.
Who is whorter in front of History?
We say Lenin and we mean the Party,
We say Party and we mean Lenin.
The Inaugural issue of the Monthly Bulletin of Revolutionary Democracy — For A People’s Democracy is out.
To download this issue click here
Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.
The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there.
America’s image suffered a major blow following the killing of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday. Throughout time, killing an ambassador has been regarded as a grave insult to the state he represented and has served as a pretext for many wars.
This time, however, there is no one to go into battle against. Ambassador Stevens was killed by those who came to power with American help not long ago. “I keep asking myself,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, in confusion, “how could this have happened in a country that the US helped to liberate?” Apart from asking questions, Washington is sending warships to Libya and neighboring countries and is hastily moving SEAL forces to protect US consulates in troubled countries.
However, US marines will hardly be able to do anything about what can well be described as an unprecedented anti-American uprising which has swept all countries of the Middle East and North Africa and had spread to India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, countries of Central Europe, and even faraway Australia.
The shallow and poorly made film denigrating prophet Muhammad became but a tiny spark triggering an explosion of a devastating force. It’s clear to any sober-minded individual that the “masterpiece” which was definitely watched by no more than a handful of Internet surfers couldn’t have set off millions of people in countries scattered all over the world.
The current unrest is the result of years-long discontent over the US doggedness in forcing American values on the rest of the world. On top of that, Washington sticks to the stupid policy of using Islamic fundamentalists for its own self-serving agenda. The Islamists who stormed the US embassy in Cairo carried Bin Laden portraits.
The founder of the Al Qaeda terrorist network began his murky career in Afghanistan, where he worked as a CIA agent fighting against the country’s legitimate government and Soviet forces deployed there. Given that the US continued to adhere to this tactic in subsequent years, the current lamenting over the unthankful Libyans in connection with the killing of Ambassador Stevens, who participated in person in the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi and was linked to Islamists, is either hypocrisy, or political short-sightedness.
I once asked 16th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov how many moves ahead he saw in chess and he answered that depending on the circumstances he calculated two or three, or sometimes six or seven moves ahead. It looks like the unfortunate “grandmasters” from Washington never see more than one move ahead. After invading Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein, the Bush-Cheney team stopped planning any further. As a result, the country has plunged into chaos and has become a terrorism hub and Al Qaeda base, thus being on the brink of falling apart.
Current developments in Europe, which was a US stronghold until now, have thrown Washington into outright confusion. The same is true regarding countries that have seen the Arab Spring, which hopefully, will not grow into an ‘Arab Winter’.
Intrigue-prone Republican candidate Mitt Romney is trying to cash in on the current state of affairs by lashing out at Barack Obama with accusations. Even though the current mess was started by the Bush-Cheney administration, the incumbent leadership will have to sort it out, no matter who comes to power in January next year.
And it will be years before this mess is sorted out eventually.
Anil Rajimwale, the leader of Communist Party of India and one of the party’s leading theoretician has published a review of Grover Furr’s Book Khrushchev Lied, in the pro CPI and pro Congress magazine Mainstream Weekly, titled A Pathetic Defence of Stalinist Repressions, the link to Rajimwale’s review is http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article3616.html
Below we are publishing a short comment on the review made by Anil Rajimwale, written by comrade Manbhanjan (member editorial committee of Other Aspect)
One can understand the pain in the heart of die-hard Khrushchevite, Anil Rajimwale, while reviewing the book Khrushchev Lied. The pain is very genuine and inevitable because for some people it is extremely difficult to digest the truth. Since 20th Party Congress they have been deceived by anti-Marxist leadership of CPSU and their blood brother CPI regarding the truth in Soviet Union.
This time the truth was revealed by American Marxist scholar comrade Grover Furr. He has done exemplary research and attempted to publish facts hitherto unknown to the world. He discovered all the lies perpetuated by Khrushchev during the so called Secret speech during the 20th Party congress of CPSU.
This congress is regarded as the “Black Congress” in the history of International Communist Movement, as Khrushchev and his clique were successful in launching coup-d’état and overthrew socialism in the land of the first successful proletariat revolution. Khrushchev distorted the Marxist-Leninist teachings and presented to the world number of so-called “new theses”, i.e. “the peaceful co-existence between two systems”, “peaceful competitions between two system”, “peaceful transition identified with the parliamentary road”. After all in the “secret report “On the Cult of the Individual and its consequences”, that blackened the glorious road pursued by the Bolshevik Party since the death of Lenin. During the period Socialism was consolidated in Soviet Union under Dictatorship of Proletariat that defeated and eradicated the menace called fascism from the face of earth and liberated vast majority of human kind from capitalistic tyranny with the creation of the socialist camp after Second world war.
Comrade Anil Rajimwale in his whole political life has stuck to the lies propagated by Khrushchev and later Gorbachev regarding Stalin and has never moved beyond that. He has not only closed his eyes and seems oblivious about the criticism of Party of Labour of Albania under Comrade Enver Hoxha and later by the Chinese Party on the 20th Party Congress but also about the recent acknowledgement made by the Communist Party of Russian Federation on the achievement of Stalin. This is the high time for all communists to once again do a serious discussion by referring to the documents republished from the Archives by Revolutionary Democracy (India), Direct Democracy (Communist) Party and even by the overtly Trotskyite site Marxist Internet Archive, and then make correct assessment of the work and life of J.V.Stalin and the fundamental changes that occurred in the Soviet Union and the nternational communist movement, after the disastrous 20th CPSU congress.
YEARS AGO, when I first lunched with President Roosevelt just after he had seen H। G. Wells, I found that of all the subjects in the Soviet Union the one that interested him the most was the personality of Stalin and especially the technique of “Stalin’s rule.” It is a natural interest; I think it interests most Americans. The unbroken rise of Stalin’s prestige for twenty years both within the Soviet Union and beyond its borders is really worth attention by students of politics.
Yet most of the American press brags of its ignorance of Stalin by frequently alluding to the “enigmatic ruler in the Kremlin.” Cartoons and innuendo have been used to create the legend of a crafty, bloodthirsty dictator who even strives to involve the world in war and chaos so that something called “Bolshevism” may gain. This preposterous legend will shortly die. It was based on the fact that most American editors couldn’t really afford to understand the Soviet Union, and that Stalin himself was usually inaccessible to foreign journalists. Men who had hit the high spots around the world and chatted cozily with Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Franklin D. Roosevelt and even Chiang Kai-shek were irritated when Josef Stalin wouldn’t give them time. The fact of the matter was that Stalin was busy with a job to which foreign contacts and publicity did not contribute. His job, like that of a Democratic National Chairman, was organizing the ruling party and through it the country.
Since the German-Soviet war began, Stalin has become chief of the army and government. He will see more foreigners now. He made a good beginning with Harry Hopkins and W. Averell Harriman. They seem to have been impressed! I know how they were impressed for I also met Stalin. In the light of the impressions that leading Americans and Britons are now going to have of him, the legend of the inscrutable dictator will die. We may even come to hear Stalin spoken of, as a Soviet writer once described him, as “the world’s great democrat”!
When I met Stalin, I did not find him enigmatic. I found him the easiest person to talk to I ever met. He is far and away the best committee chairman of my experience. He can bring everybody’s views out and combine them in the minimum of time. His method of running committees reminded me somewhat of Jane Addams of Hull House or Lillian D. Wald of Henry Street Settlement. They had the same kind of democratically efficient technique, but they used more high pressure than Stalin did.
If Stalin has been inaccessible to foreigners—there were exceptions even to this—that does not mean that he lived in isolation, in a sort of Kremlin ivory tower. There were close to 200,000,000 people keeping him busy. He was seeing a lot of them. Not always necessarily the party leaders. A milkmaid who had broken the milking record, a scientist who had broken the atom, an aviator who flew to America, a coal miner who invented a new labor process, a workman with a housing difficulty, an engineer balked by new conditions—any person representing either a signal achievement or a typical problem might be invited by Stalin to talk it over. That was the way he got his data and kept in touch with the movement of the country.
That, I realized afterwards, was why Stalin saw me. For nearly ten years I had liked his country and tried to succeed there, for nearly two I had organized and tried to edit a little weekly newspaper for other Americans who had come to work for the Five Year Plan. And what with censorship, red tape, and what seemed the wanton emergence of another competing weekly, I wanted to give up. My editor-in-chief was practically blackmailing me that, if I resigned, he would ruin my reputation. Exhausted and angry, I was feeling trapped. A Russian friend suggested that I complain to Stalin. I did. Three days later his office called me up and suggested that I come down and talk it over with “some responsible comrades.” It was done so casually that I almost refused, for the editor-in-chief had finally agreed to my resignation and I was “through with it all.” But I felt that after sending that letter it was only polite to go.
I expected to see some fairly high official at the party headquarters, and was rather stunned when the auto drove straight to the Kremlin and especially when I entered a large conference room and saw not only Stalin rising to greet me, but Kaganovich and Voroshilov too! It seemed overwhelmingly disproportionate. Later I realized that it was not my little problem that chiefly concerned them. I was one of several thousand Americans who had begun to worry them. We had come to the Soviet Union to work in its industries. We were reasonably honest and efficient, but we couldn’t make good. Stalin wanted to know what was the matter with us in our adjustment to Soviet industry. By investigating my troubles he would learn what made us Americans click, or more often not click, in the Soviet land. But if he learned about Americans from me, I learned from him something equally important—how the Soviet Union is put together and how Stalin works.
My first impression of him was vaguely disappointing. A stocky figure in a simple suit of khaki color, direct, unassuming, whose first concern was to know whether I understood Russian sufficiently to take part in discussion. Not very imposing for so great a man, I thought. Then we sat down rather casually, and Stalin was not even at the head of the table; Voroshilov was. Stalin took a place where he could see all our faces and started the talk by a pointed question to the man against whom I had complained. After that Stalin seemed to become a sort of background, against which other people’s comments went on. The brilliant wit of Kaganovich, the cheerful chuckle of Voroshilov, the characteristics of the lesser people called to consult, all suddenly stood out. I began to understand them all and like them; I even began to understand the editor against whom I had complained. Suddenly I myself was talking and getting my facts out faster and more clearly than I ever did in my life. People seemed to agree with me. Everything got to the point very fast and smoothly, with Stalin saying less than anyone.
Afterward in thinking it over I realized how Stalin’s genius for listening helped each of us express ourselves and understand the others. I recalled his trick of repeating a word of mine either with questioning intonation or a slight emphasis, which suddenly made me feel I had either not quite seen the point or perhaps had overstated it, and so drove me to make it plainer. I recalled how he had done this to others also. Then I understood that his listening has been a dynamic force.
This listening habit dates back to the early days of his revolutionary career. “I remember him very well from the early days of our Party,” said a veteran Bolshevik to me. “A quiet youth who sat at the edge of the committee, saying almost nothing, but listening very much. Toward the end he would make a few comments, sometimes merely as questions. Gradually we came to see that he always summed up best our joint thinking.” The description will be recognized by anyone who ever met Stalin. In any group he is usually last to express his opinion. He does not want to block the full expression of others, as he might easily do by speaking first. Besides this, he is always learning by listening.
“He listens even to the way the grass grows,” said a Soviet citizen to me.
On the data thus gathered, Stalin forms conclusions, not “alone in the night,” which Emil Ludwig said was Mussolini’s way, but in conference and discussion. Even in interviews, he seldom receives the interviewer alone; Molotov, Voroshilov, or Kaganovich are likely to be about. Probably he does not even grant an interview without discussing it first with his closest comrades. This is a habit he formed very early. In the days of the underground revolutionary movement, he grew accustomed to close teamwork with comrades who held each other’s lives in their hands. In order to survive, they must learn to agree quickly and unanimously, to feel each other’s instincts, to guess even at a distance each other’s brains. It was in such a group that he gained his Party name—it is not the one that he was born with—“the Steel One, Stalin.”
If I should explain Stalin to politicians, I should call him a superlatively good committeeman. Is this too prosaic a term for the leader of 200,000,000 people? I might call him instead a farseeing statesman; this also is true. Put more important than Stalin’s genius is the fact that it is expressed through good committee work. His talent for co-operative action is more significant for the world than the fact that he is great.
Soviet people have a way of putting it which sounds rather odd to Americans. “Stalin does not think individually,” they say. It is the exact opposite of the “rugged individualist” ideal. But they mean it as the very highest compliment. They mean that Stalin thinks not only with his own brain but in consultation with the brains of the Academy of Science, the chiefs of industry, the Congress of Trade Unions, the Party leaders. Scientists use this way of thinking; so do good trade unionists. They do not “think individually”; they do not rely on the conclusions of a single brain. It is a highly useful characteristic, for no single human brain today is big enough to decide the world’s complex problems. Only the combination of many brains thinking together, not in conflict but in co-operation, can safely handle the problems of today.
Stalin himself has said this a score of times to various interviewers. When Emil Ludwig and, later, Roy Howard sought to learn “how the great dictator made up his mind,” Stalin told them: “Single persons cannot decide. Experience has shown us that individual decisions, uncorrected by others, contain a large percentage of error.”
Soviet people never speak of “Stalin’s will” or “Stalin’s orders”; they speak of “government orders” and “the Party line,” which are decisions produced collectively. But they speak very much of “Stalin’s method” as a method that everyone should learn. It is the method of getting swift decisions out of the brains of many people, the method of good committee work. It is studied carefully in the Soviet Union by bright young men who go in for politics.
For me, the method was emphasized again in the days that immediately followed that first conference. It had seemed to me that Stalin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, and everybody else had agreed on a certain action. Then the days went by and frothing happened, till the conference seemed almost a dream. I confided my worry to a Russian acquaintance. He laughed.
“That is our ‘terrible democracy,’” he told me. “Of course, your affair is really settled, but technically it must be approved by all the members of the Political Bureau, some of whom are in the Caucasus and some in Leningrad. It will go as routine with a lot of other decisions and none of them will bother about your question because they know nothing about it. But this is our usual safeguard for anyone of the members may wish to add or change something in some decision. That decision will then go back to committee till all are satisfied.”
Stalin brings certain important qualities to these joint decisions. People who meet him are first of all impressed by his directness and simplicity, his swift approach. Next they notice his clearness and objectivity in handling questions. He completely lacks Hitler’s emotional hysteria and Mussolini’s cocky self-assertion; he does not thrust himself into the picture. Gradually one becomes aware of his keen analysis, his colossal knowledge, his grip of world politics, his willingness to face facts, and especially his long view, which fits the problem into history, judging not only its immediate factors, but its past and future too.
Stalin’s rise to power came rather slowly. The rise of his type is slow and sure. It began far back with his study of human history and especially the history of revolutions. President Roosevelt commented to me with surprise on Stalin’s knowledge of the Cromwellian Revolution in Britain as shown in his talk with H. G. Wells. But Stalin quite naturally studied both the British and the American historical revolutions far more intimately than British and American politicians do. Tsarist Russia was due for a revolution. Stalin intended to be in it and help give it form. He made himself a thorough scientist on the process of history from the Marxian viewpoint: how the masses of people live, how their industrial technique and social forms develop, how social classes arise and struggle, how they succeed. Stalin analyzed and compared all past revolutions. He wrote many books about them. But he is not only a scientist; he also acts.
In the early days of the Revolution, Stalin’s name was hardly known outside the Party. In 1923, during Lenin’s last illness, I was told by men whose judgment I trusted that Stalin was “our coming man.” They based this on his keen knowledge of political forces and his close attention to political organization as secretary of the Communist Party. They also based it on his accurate timing of swift action and said that thus far in the Revolution he hid not once guessed wrong. They said that he was the man to whom “responsible Party men” turned for the clearest statement of what they all thought., In those days Trotsky sneered at Stalin as the “most average man” in the Party. In a sense it was true. Stalin keeps close to the “average man”; the “average man” is the material of politics. But Stalin does it with a genius that is very far from average.
“The art of leadership,” said Stalin once, “is a serious matter. One must not lag behind the movement, because to do so is to become isolated from the masses. But one must not rush ahead, for this is to lose contact with the masses.” He was telling his comrades how to become leaders; he was also expressing his own ideal, which he has very effectively practiced.
Twenty years ago in the Russian civil war, Stalin’s instinct for the feeling of the common people more than once helped the Soviet armies to victory. The best known of these moments was the dispute between Stalin and Trotsky about an advance through the North Caucasus. Trotsky wanted to take the shortest military route. Stalin pointed out that this shortcut lay across the unfriendly lands of the Cossacks and would in the end prove longer and bloodier. He chose a somewhat roundabout way through working-class cities and friendly farming regions, where the common people rose to help the Red Armies instead of opposing them. The contrast was typical; it has been illustrated since then by twenty years of history. Stalin is completely at home in the handling of social forces, as is shown by his call today for a “people’s war” in the rear of the German Armies. He knows how to arouse the terrible force of an angry people, how to organize it and release it to gain the people’s desires.
The outside world began to hear of Stalin in the discussions that preceded the first Five Year Plan. (I wrote an article some five years earlier, predicting his rise as Lenin’s successor, but the article went unnoticed; it was several years too soon.) Russian workers outside the Communist Party began to think of Stalin as their leader during the first spectacular expansion of Soviet industry. He first became a leader among the peasants in March, 1930, through his famous article, “Dizziness from Success,” in which he checked the abuses that were taking place in farm collectivization. I have described its effect on the rural districts in the preceding chapter. I remember Walter Duranty waving that article at me and saying, “At last there is a leader in this land!”
Stalin’s great moment when he first appeared as leader of the whole Soviet people was when, as Chairman of the Constitutional Commission, he presented the new Constitution of the Socialist State. A commission of thirty-one of the country’s ablest historians, economists, and political scientists had been instructed to create “the world’s most democratic constitution” with the most accurate machinery yet devised for obtaining “the will of the people.” They spent a year and a half in detailed study of every past constitution in the world, not only of governments but of trade unions and voluntary societies. The draft that they prepared was then discussed by the Soviet people for several months in more than half a million meetings attended by 36,500,000 people. The number of suggested amendments that reached the Constitutional Commission from the popular discussions was 154,000. Stalin himself is known to have read tens of thousands of the people’s letters.
Two thousand people sat in the great white hall of the Kremlin Palace when Stalin made his report to the Congress of Soviets. Below me, where I sat in the journalists’ box, was the main floor filled with the Congress deputies; around me in the loges sat the foreign diplomatic corps; behind me, in a deep gallery, were citizen-visitors. Outside the hall tens of millions of people listened over the radio, from the southern cotton fields of Central Asia to the scientific stations on the Arctic coast. It was a high point of Soviet history. But Stalin’s words were direct and simple and as informal as if he sat at a fireside talking with a few friends. He explained the significance of the Constitution, took up the suggested amendments, referred a large number of them to various lawmaking bodies and himself discussed the most important. He made it plain that everyone of those 154,000 suggestions had been classified somewhere and would influence something.
Among the dozen or more amendments which Stalin personally discussed, he approved of those that facilitated democratic expression and disapproved of those that limited democracy. Some people felt, for instance, that the different constituent republics should not be granted the right to secede from the Soviet Union; Stalin said that, while they probably would not want to secede, their right to do so should be constitutionally guaranteed as an assertion of democracy. A fairly large number of people wanted to refuse political rights to the priests lest they influence politics unduly. “The time has come to introduce universal suffrage without limitations,” said Stalin, arguing that the Soviet people were now mature enough to know their own minds.
More important for us today than constitutional forms, or even the question of how they work, was one very significant note in Stalin’s speech. He ended by a direct challenge to the growing Nazi threat in Europe. Speaking on November 25, 1936, before Hitlerism was seriously opposed by any European government, Stalin called the new Soviet Constitution “an indictment against Fascism, an indictment which says that Socialism and Democracy are invincible.”
In the years since the Constitutional Congress, Stalin’s own personality began to be more widely known. His picture and slogans became so prominent in the Soviet Union that foreigners found this “idolatry” forced and insincere. Most Soviet folk of my acquaintance really do feel tremendous devotion to Stalin as the man who has built their country and led it to success. I have even known people to make a temporary change of residence just before election day in order to have the chance to vote for Stalin directly in the district where he was running, instead of for the less exciting candidate from their own district.
No information about Stalin’s home life is ever printed in Soviet newspapers. By Russian tradition, everybody, even a political leader, is entitled to the privacy of his personal life. A very delicate line divides private life from public work. When Stalin’s wife died, the black-bordered death notices in the paper mentioned her by her own name, which was not Stalin’s, listed her work and connection with various public organizations, and the fact that she was “the friend and comrade of Stalin.” They did not mention that she was his wife. The fact that she worked with him and might influence his decisions as a comrade was a public matter; the fact that she was married to him was their own affair. Some time later, he was known to have married again, but the press never mentioned it.
Glimpses of Stalin’s personal relations come chiefly through his contacts with picturesque figures who have helped make Soviet history. Valery Chkalov, the brilliant aviator who made the first flight across the North Pole from Moscow to America, told of an afternoon that he spent at Stalin’s summer home from four o’clock till after midnight. Stalin sang many Volga songs, put on gramophone records for the younger people to dance, and generally behaved like a normal human being relaxing in the heart of his family. He said he had learned the songs in his Siberian exile when there wasn’t much to do but sing.
The three women aviators who broke all world records for women by their spectacular flight from Moscow to the Far East were later entertained at an evening party at the Kremlin in their honor. One of them, Raskova, related afterwards how Stalin had joked with them about the prehistoric days of the matriarchate when women ruled human society. He said that in the early days of human development women had created agriculture as a basis for society and progress, while men “only hunted and went to war.” After a reference to the long subsequent centuries of woman’s slavery, Stalin added, “Now these three women come to avenge the heavy centuries of woman’s suppression.”
The best tale, I think, is that about Marie Demchenko, because it shows Stalin’s idea of leaders and of how they are produced. Marie was a peasant woman who came to a farm congress in Moscow and made a personal pledge to Stalin, then sitting on the platform, that her brigade of women would produce twenty tons of beets per acre that year. It was a spectacular promise, since the average yield in the Ukraine was about five tons. Marie’s challenge started a competition among the Ukrainian sugar beet growers; it was featured by the Soviet press. The whole country followed with considerable excitement Marie’s fight against a pest of moths. The nation watched the local fire department bring twenty thousand pails of water to the field to beat the drought. They saw that gang of women weed the fields nine times and clear them eight times of insects. Marie finally got twenty-one tons per acre, while the best of her competitors got twenty-three.
That harvest was a national event. So Marie’s whole gang went to Moscow to visit Stalin at the autumn celebration. The newspapers treated them like movie stars and featured their conversation. Stalin asked Marie what she most wanted as a reward for her own good record and for stirring up all the other sugar beet growers. Marie replied that she had wanted most of all to come to Moscow and see “the leaders.”
“But now you yourselves are leaders,” said Stalin to Marie.
“Well, yes,” said Marie, “but we wanted to see you anyway.” Her final request, which was granted, was to study in an agricultural university.
When the German war was launched against the Soviet Union, many foreigners were surprised that Stalin did not make a speech to arouse the people at once. Some of our more sensational papers assumed that Stalin had fled! Soviet people knew that Stalin trusted them to do their jobs and that he would sum the situation up for them as soon as it crystallized. He did it at dawn on July 3 in a radio talk. The words with which he began were very significant.
“Comrades! Citizens!” he said, as he has said often. Then he added, “Brothers and Sisters!” It was the first time Stalin ever used in public those close family words. To everyone who heard them, those words meant that the situation was very serious, that they must now face the ultimate test together and that they must all be closer and dearer to each other than they had ever been before. It meant that Stalin wanted to put a supporting arm across their shoulders, giving them strength for the task they had to do. This task was nothing less than to accept in their own bodies the shock of the most hellish assault of history, to withstand it, to break it, and by breaking it save the world. They knew they had to do it, and Stalin knew they would.
Stalin made perfectly plain that the danger was grave, that the German armies had taken most of the Baltic states, that the struggle would be very costly, and that the issues were between “freedom or slavery, life or death to the Soviet State.” He told them: “The enemy is cruel and implacable. He is out to seize our lands, watered with our sweat . . . to convert our peoples into the slaves of German princes and barons.” He called upon the “daring initiative and intelligence that are inherent in our people,” which he himself for more than twenty years had helped to create. He outlined in some detail the bitter path they should follow, each in his own region, and said that they would find allies among the freedom-loving peoples of the world. Then he summoned them “forward—to victory.”
Erskine Caldwell, reporting that dawn from Moscow, said that tremendous crowds stood in the city squares listening to the loud speakers, “holding their breath in such profound silence that one could hear every inflection of Stalin’s voice.” Twice during the speech, even the sound of water being poured into a glass could be heard as Stalin stopped to drink. For several minutes after Stalin had finished the silence continued. Then a motherly-looking woman said, “He works so hard, I wonder when he finds time to sleep. I am worried about his health.”
That was the way that Stalin took the Soviet people into the test of war.
Courtsey: Proletarian Alternative
The electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Salafists in Egypt (January 2012) is hardly surprising. The decline brought about by the current globalization of capitalism has produced an extraordinary increase in the so-called “informal” activities that provide the livelihoods of more than half of the Egyptian population (statistics give a figure of 60%).
And the Muslim Brotherhood is very well placed to take advantage of this decline and perpetuate its reproduction. Their simplistic ideology confers legitimacy on a miserable market/bazaar economy that is completely antithetical to the requirements of any development worthy of the name. The fabulous financial means provided to the Muslim Brotherhood (by the Gulf states) allows them to translate this ideology into efficient action: financial aid to the informal economy, charitable services (medical dispensaries etc.).
In this way the Brotherhood establishes itself at the heart of society and induces its dependency. It has never been the intention of the Gulf countries to support the development of Arab countries, for example through industrial investment. They support a form of “lumpen development” — to use the term originally coined by André Gunder Frank — that imprisons the societies concerned in a spiral of pauperization and exclusion, which in turn reinforces the stranglehold of reactionary political Islam on society.
This would not have succeeded so easily if it had not been in perfect accord with the objectives of the Gulf states, Washington, and Israel. The three close allies share the same concern: to foil the recovery of Egypt. A strong, upright Egypt would mean the end of the triple hegemony of the Gulf (submission to the discourse of Islamization of society), the United States (a vassalized and pauperized Egypt remains under its direct influence), and Israel (a powerless Egypt does not intervene in Palestine).
The rallying of regimes to neo-liberalism and to submission to Washington was sudden and total in Egypt under Sadat, and more gradual and moderate in Algeria and Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood — which is part of the power system — should not be considered merely as an “Islamic party,” but first and foremost as an ultra reactionary party that is, moreover, Islamist. Reactionary not only concerning what are known as “social issues” (the veil, sharia, anti-Coptic discrimination), but also, and to the same degree, reactionary in the fundamental areas of economic and social life: the Brotherhood is against strikes, workers’ demands, independent workers’ unions, the movement of resistance against the expropriation of farmers, etc.
The planned failure of the “Egyptian revolution” would thus guarantee the continuation of the system that has been in place since Sadat, founded on the alliance of the army high command and political Islam. Admittedly, on the strength of its electoral victory the Brotherhood is now able to demand more power than it has thus far been granted by the military. However, revising the distribution of the benefits of this alliance in favor of the Brotherhood may prove difficult.
The first round of the presidential election on 24 May was organized in such a way as to achieve the objective pursued by the system in power and by Washington: to reinforce the alliance of the two pillars of the system — the army high command and the Muslim Brotherhood — and settle their disagreement (which of the two will be in the forefront). The two candidates “acceptable” in this sense were the only ones to receive adequate means to run their campaigns. Morsi (MB: 24%) and Chafiq (Army: 23%). The movement’s real candidate — H. Sabbahi – who did not receive the means normally granted to candidates, allegedly only got 21% of the vote (the figure is questionable).
At the end of protracted negotiations it was agreed that Morsi was the “winner” of the second round. The assembly, like the president, was elected thanks to a massive distribution of parcels (of meat, oil, and sugar) to those who voted for the Islamists. And yet, the “foreign observers” failed to observe a situation that is openly ridiculed in Egypt. The assembly’s dissolution was delayed by the army, which wanted to give the Brotherhood time to bring discredit upon itself by refusing to address social issues (employment, salaries, schools, and health!).
The system in place, “presided” over by Morsi, is the best guarantee that lumpen development and the destruction of the institutions of the state, which are the objectives pursued by Washington, will continue. We will see how the revolutionary movement, which is still firmly committed to the fight for democracy, social progress, and national independence, will carry on after this electoral charade.
Samir Amin is a Marxist economist. Translation by Julia Monod (first published by Pambazuka News under a Creative Commons license).
- We talked to the local party comrades of CPI and a reporter of ‘Hindustan’ who is stationed in Khagaria and who covered the case.
- We interrogated the two under-trials in Khagaria Jail.
- We talked to the relatives of those convicted in the case and other residents of Amousi village.
- We read carefully the judgment delivered by sessions court, the PUCL enquiry report (enquiry conducted on 11th October 2009), the relevant news coverage and some papers related to land conflict in Amousi.
Some people forced a boatman of Icharwa to ferry them to Amousi Bahiar late in the evening. The boatman was later killed and no details could be traced. Presumably, after crossing the river, another group of armed persons joined them. From the river bank they followed nearly a straight line to reach the basas of Icharwa Kurmis. The miscreants picked up young men sleeping in their basas. All the picked up persons were allegedly tied up with ropes and they were huddled together in an open area on the dera of Chhotelal Singh. Here, they were shot by guns. Paro Singh said that he feigned death lying motionless with other corpses making the killers think that he was dead. The team did not find his version of hoodwinking the killers very convincing. There was no injury on his body. The killers dispersed after shooting. Paro singh managed to flee from there and reached village Icharwa to tell others about the carnage. The villagers informed the local Alauli police station. Icharwa village comes under the jurisdiction of Alauli police station. The police was reluctant to go to Amousi at that late hour of night. The villagers mustered courage and crossed the river in large number and brought back the dead bodies by five in the morning.
- Evidence of Paro Singh as recorded in the judgment raises at least three questions.
Pravda the paper started by Lenin in 1912 from St. Peterburg, played a vital role in the revolutionary struggle of Bolsheviks, during their fight against not only the Czars but also against the Menshiviks, and all sorts of revisionist and anti-Marxist tendencies. After the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution it played a very important role in Stalin’s fight against Trotskyists and all other such anti-Marxist revisionists.
The following report by correspondent of the journal Revolutionary Democracy, tells us about the commemoration event that was held in Moscow.
From Mayday to May 9th, which marks the great victory over Nazi Germany , the great celebrations took place in Soviet Union . They continue in capitalist Russia. This year the centenary of Pravda was commemorated in style on the 5th of May. A correspondent of Revolutionary Democracy was a participant of the occasion. A film was shown on the history of Pravda from 1912 when Lenin started the paper, the role it played in the Russian revolutions, the building up of industry, collectivisation and the victory in the war against Hitler, which revealed the links of each phase of the Soviet revolution and the newspaper.
Issues of Pravda were shown giving the photographs of Lenin and Stalin. Both Yeltsin and Gorbachev had tried to close it down. But on this occasion the President of the Russian Federation, Dimitri Medvedyev, sent a message of congratulations. Amongst some of the audience it was considered an unfortunate intervention.
An introductory speech was given by Gennadi Zhuganov, the leader of the rightist Communist Party of the Russian Federation. Representatives of New Age and People’s Democracy were present. They and others took part in a two day seminar on the role of newspapers in the communist movement. A wonderful programme of Soviet songs and music was given by the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Ministry of the Interior and the superb People’s Artists of Russia, which will long be remembered. The entire audience stood up spontaneously when the song ‘Holy War’ was being sung; it had been written on the occasion of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and continues to inspire the Soviet communists today.. The Partisan songs of the fight against Mussolini, particularly Bella Ciao, were also sung.
The audience was transported back to the Soviet Union as they also sang the revolutionary songs of their youth. The event was held in the House of the Trade Unions, in the Hall of the Columns where many of the great Soviet historical events had taken place. There the traitors to the USSR such as Bukharin and others were tried in the 1930s, there also Comrades Dimitrov and Stalin were laid in state. In the winters, the participants of the event recalled, how they had come into this very hall for the children’s programmes. While people remembered Lenin and even Stalin no one mentioned Khrushchev and Brezhnev who started the rot that led to the fall of socialism and the USSR. This participant was troubled by the history of revisionism that Pravda had participated in after 1953 which had destroyed the great Soviet Union which had been built up by Lenin and Stalin which was and is a source of great inspiration for the communists, and the working class and working peoples of the world. Long live the memory of the Pravda of Lenin and Stalin and the CPSU (b)!
In Delhi several left and democratic trade unions assembled in the Ramlila ground to commemorate May day, like other years the unions marched from the ground to the Town hall.
The organisation present were:AICCTU(affiliated to CPI ML Liberation), CITU (affiliated to CPI M), AITUC (affiliated to CPI), UTUC(affiliated to RSP), AIUTUC (affiliated to SUCI(C)), Mazdoor Ekta Lehar (affiliated to CGPI), HMS ( social democrats), TUCC(affiliated to All India Forward Bloc), Workers’ Unity Trade Union.
The rally consisted of workers and their union from Delhi and adjoining areas, and consisted of around 3000 members.
WUTU along with Nirman Mazdoor Shakti Sanghtan actively took part in the rally and raised several revolutionary and non sectarian slogans like workers unite, implement 8 hrs work and minimum wage act, red salute to workers unity etc.
WUTU and NMSS had jointly come out with a pamphlet that called for forming militant revolutionary workers’ organisation. The pamphlet was distributed and was well received.
Compared to the May Day rallies of the past the number of participants were less. This shows the weak position of the TU movement in particular and Left in general in this part of the country.
इस लीफलेट का पीडीएफ डाउनलोड करने के लिए क्लिक करें : may Day 12
१ मई यानी मज़दूरों के संघर्ष का दिन, इस बार मज़दूरों के उपर बढ़ते पूंजीवादी अत्याचार और भारत ही नही बल्कि समूचे विश्व में शोषण के खिलाफ मज़दूरों के तेज़ होते आंदोलन के बीच में आया है. आज पूरा पूंजीवादी ढ़ाचा चरमरा रहा है, पूंजीवाद आपने संकट से निकालने के तमाम कोशिश में नाकाम होता जा रहा है, और इसका सीधा असर मज़दूरों पर हो रहा है. मज़दूरों के वेतन में कटौती, मज़दूरों की छटनी और तमाम तरह के शोषण उस पर हो रहे हैं. पूंजीवाद और उसके क़ब्ज़े वाली सरकार ने, मज़दूरों के पक्ष में जो थोड़े क़ानून बने थे, उनको अंत करने की क़वायद और तेज़ कर दी है.
आज सरकार और उसके दूसरे अंग चाहे वो पुलिस हो या सरकार चलाने वाले नेता पूंजीपतियों की मॅनेजिंग समिति के रूप में काम कर रहें है. और हम मज़दूरों को इनसे कोई आशा नहीं रखनी चाहिए की वो हमारे लिए कोई काम करेंगे. पूंजीवादी व्यवस्था में अगर मज़दूरों के साथ कुछ होगा तो केवल जुल्म, शोषण और अत्याचार.
मज़दूर अपने उपर हो रहे शोषण के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठा रहा है. चाहे वो मारुति की हड़ताल हो या यानम में हुई हिंसक घटना. या फिर गुड़गाँव में हाल ही मे हुई कई सारी झड़प, मेहनतकश वर्ग पूंजीवाद के खिलाफ अपने गुस्से का इज़हार कर रहा है, पर आज वो संघटित नहीं है, और इस कारण से मलिक इसका पूरा लाभ उठा रहा है. गुड़गाँव में मज़दूर यूनियन नहीं बना सकता, ना ही वो न्यूनतम मजदूरी की माँग कर सकता है. और अगर उसने मालिकों के सामने यह माँग रखी तो उसे नौकरी से ही नहीं कई बार आपनी जान से भी हाथ धोना पङता है. आज ज़रूरत है तो मज़दूरों को एक होने की और खुद के संगठन के निर्माण की. एक ऐसा संगठन जो पूंजीवादियों के हाथ बिका हुआ ना हो, और जो मज़दूरों के नाम पर मालिकों का हित नहीं साधता.
मई दिवस के इस मौके पर आईए अपनी प्रतिज्ञा को एक बार फिर दोहराते हैं की हम एक शोषन्मुक्त, भयमुक्त जातिमुक्त समाज का निर्माण करने के लिए अपना संघर्ष को और मज़बूत करेंगे और एकजुट हो कर पूंजीवाद के खिलाफ जंग का एलान करेंगे. तभी मज़दूरों, किसानों और अन्य वर्ग जो या तो आर्थिक या जाति के आधार पर जो शोषण और उत्पीड़न के शिकार हैं उनको सही मायने में आज़ादी मिलेगी.
मज़दूरों के पास खोने के लिए कुछ नहीं और जीतने के लिए सारा संसार है
दूनिया के मज़दूरों एक हो !!
लाल झंडे के नीचे गोलबंद हो !!
Under the mantle of the UN, the Yankee imperialists have established a military training base to train the police forces and police from other countries in the “art” of repressing social protest and struggle for sovereignty that is developing in Chile and Latin America.
It is necessary to make this news widely known, TO DEMAND that the government IMMEDIATELY CLOSE this base; we must mobilize and call upon all the residents of the country to denounce this violation of our national sovereignty, the submission of the government in total complicity with the Concertation and the leadership of the misnamed “Communist Party of Chile”.
Yankees Out of Chile and Latin America!
Down with the government, which is a puppet of Yankee imperialism!
National Communications Commission
Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) PC (AP)
This FAQ tries to provide some answers to the very complicated Marxist economic understanding on the Labour Theory. We are posting this as it may serve as base towards greater understanding of this phenomenon dealt in detail by Marx in Capital and in his other writings. We would like to hear more on this from other comrades.
2.1 What is a commodity?
2.2 What are “use values?”
2.3 What is “exchange value?”
2.4 What is meant by “concrete labor” and “abstract labor?”
2.5 What is “commodity fetishism?”
2.6 How does simple commodity production differ from capitalism?
2.7 What are the means of production?3.0 What Are Labor Values?
3.1 Can you give an example?
3.2 Can you explain a more complicated example?
3.3 What units are labor values measured in?
3.4 How are labor values calculated for processes exhibiting joint production?
3.5 How is the use of capital goods accounted for in calculating labor values?
3.6 Can you illustrate how to calculate labor values with fixed capital by an example?
3.7 How is the use of natural resources accounted for in calculating labor values?
3.8 Not all workers have the same abilities. How can labor values be meaningful?
3.9 Doesn’t the LTV assert it is desirable for workers to become more lazy so the goods they produce would increase in value?
3.10 The cost of a good includes more than the cost of labor. Doesn’t this observation invalidate the LTV?
3.11 How can past costs determine value?4.0 What Is Exploitation?4.1 What is the Fundamental Theorem of Marxism?
4.2 If all commodities sold at their value, how would the capitalists be able to exploit the workers?
4.3 If all exchanges are freely made and no one is forced, how is exploitation possible?
4.4 What is labor power?
4.5 What is constant capital?
4.6 What is variable capital?
4.7 What is the organic composition of capital?
4.8 What is surplus value?
4.9 What is the rate of surplus value, also known as the rate of exploitation?
4.10 How can the capitalists increase absolute surplus value?
4.11 How can the capitalists increase relative surplus value?5.0 What Are Prices of Production?5.1 Can you give an example?
5.2 Can you give an example with a surplus and labor inputs?
5.3 Why call these exchange values “prices of production,” rather than “costs,” “costs of production,” “natural prices,” or “necessary prices?”
5.4 How are prices of production related to market prices?
5.5 What is the “realization problem?”
5.6 Aren’t prices of production merely Neoclassical long-run equilibrium prices?
5.7 How has an analysis of prices of production been used to construct a critique of bourgeois economics?6.0 What is the Transformation Problem?6.1 Why would one expect prices of production to differ from labor values?
6.2 When are prices of production equal to labor values?
6.3 What was Marx’s algebraic solution to the transformation problem?
6.4 Why was Marx’s solution to the transformation problem inadequate?
6.5 Can you provide an example in which the LTV is valid?
6.6 Can you provide an example in which prices of production are not proportional to labor values?
6.7What empirical evidence supports the LTV?7.0 What can I Read to Find Out More About the LTV?
The LTV is the theory that market prices are attracted by prices proportional to the labor time embodied in commodities. In other words, relative prices tend towards relative labor values. The LTV is restricted to the analysis of reproducable commodities that have a use value in a capitalist society. Although the LTV is commonly associated with Classical economics, arguably neither Marx nor any first tier Classical economist accepted the LTV as a valid theory for capitalist economies.
Much of the controversy about the LTV deals with associated doctrines, particularly the doctrine that exploitation of the worker is the ultimate source of profits in a capitalist economy. David Ricardo, one of the greatest Classical economists, and Karl Marx thought that their analyses had greater applicability than the special cases in which the LTV is valid as a theory of price. Terry Peach argues that Ricardo accepted the LTV when writing the first edition of The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, but not before or when modifying his book for later editions. Marx seemed to think that abstract labor time is a common substance in all commodities, while denying that prices tended to be proportional to labor values.
This FAQ is an introduction to the LTV. It’s perspective is mainly that of a “Dual System” approach that has dominated Western academic economists’ discussion of the LTV for the last century (when they have noticed the LTV at all). Recent developments, such as the “New Interpretation” of Gerard Dumenil, A. Lipietz, and Duncan Foley and the “Temporal Single System” approach of Guglielmo Carchedi, Alan Freeman, Andrew Kliman and others, are, at most, treated cursorily. A more comprehensive treatment of formalizations of Marx’s economic theory would discuss his third volume argument for the law of the tendency of the rate of profits to decline, the Okishio theorem’s use in refuting this law, and Andrew Kliman’s defense of Marx’s law in a dynamic setting.
The LTV applies to commodities produced and sold in capitalist societies. Commodities have both use values and exchange values. Value, in Marx’s view, is abstract labor time. The accumulation of exchange values as an end in itself distinguishes capitalism from simple commodity production.
A commodity is…an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another… (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 1)
Marx later adds that a commodity implies exchange; it is regarded as containing exchange-value. Thus a person who produces something to use themselves is producing a use-value, not a commodity:
A thing can be useful, and the product of human labor, without being a commodity. Whoever directly satisfies his wants with the produce of his own labor, creates, indeed, use-values, but not commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only produce use-values, but values for others, social use-values. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 1)
Every useful thing…is an assemblage of many properties, and may therefore be of use in various ways…The utility of a thing makes it a use-value…When treating of use-value, we always assume to be dealing with definite quantities, such as dozens of watches, yards of linen, or tons of iron. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 1)
Utility then is not the measure of exchangable value, although it is absolutely essential to it. If a commodity were in no way useful, – in other words, if it could in no way contribute to our gratification, – it would be destitute of exchangeable value, however scarce it might be, or whatever quantity of labor might be necessary to procure it. (David Ricardo 1821, Chapter I, Section I)
Note that for Marx and arguably for Ricardo, use values are qualitative, not quantitative measures along a single dimension.
The exchange value of a commodity is “the power of purchasing other goods which the possession of that object conveys” (David Ricardo). Exchange value “presents itself as a quantitative relation, as the proportion in which values in use of one sort are exchanged for those of another sort” (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 1). In other words, exchange value initially presents itself as the relative prices of a commodity.
In Marx’s view, just as a commodity is “a complex of two things – use-value and exchange-value,” so labor has a two-fold nature under capitalism. Just as the physical properties of a commodity determine its use value, so concrete labor activities are required to produce commodities. Marx mentions the labor of the joiner, mason, and spinner, for example.
The rate at which a coat and linen exchange in the market shows the coat and linen to be different quantities of some common substance. The coat and linen are qualitatively different use values, and so they are produced by qualitatively different kinds of concrete labor activities – tailoring and weaving:
Just as, therefore, in viewing the coat and linen as values, we abstract from their different use-values, so it is with the labour represented by these values: we disregard the difference between its useful forms, weaving and tailoring. As the use-values, coat and linen, are combinations of special productive activities with cloth and yarn, while the the values, coat and linen, are, on the other hand, mere homogeneous congelations of undifferentiated labour, so the labour embodied in the latter values does not count by virtue of its productive relation to cloth and yarn, but only as being expenditure of human labor-power. Tailoring and weaving are necessary factors in the creation of the use-values, coat and linen, precisely because these two kinds of labor are of different qualities; but only in so far as abstraction is made from their special qualities, only in so far as both possess the same quality of being human labor, do tailoring and weaving form the substance of the values of the same articles.(Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 2).
Abstract labor is this homogeneous human labor in which abstraction has been made from concrete labor activities.
The reproduction of a capitalist society requires many concrete activities to be performed in parallel in different industries, as in this simple example. There is a certain allocation among industries of all of the labor available to a society when it reproduces itself smoothly. But this allocation is not apparent to the workers or the capitalists. Nor can the participants know if labor is allocated properly until the capitalists try to sell the products on the market. Only then can the capitalists determine if the labor they employed was socially necessary.
Since the producers do not come into social contact with each other until they exchange their products, the specific social character of each producer’s labour does not show itself except in the act of exchange. In other words, the labour of the individual asserts itself as a part of the labour of society, only by means of the relations which the act of exchange establishes directly between the products, and indirectly, through them, between the producers. To the latter, therefore, the relations connecting the labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as direct social relations between individuals at work, but as what they really are, material relations between persons and social relations between things. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 4).
Commodity fetishism prevents socially necessary abstract labor from being perceived as the substance of value.
Connections between Marx’s views on commodity fetishism and value theory can be seen by comparing and contrasting the above explanation of commodity fetishism with his 11 July 1868 letter to Kugelmann:
Even if there were no chapter on ‘value’ in my book, the analysis of the real relationships which I give would contain the proof of the real value relation. The nonsense about proving the concept of value arises from complete ignorance both of the subject dealt with and of the method of science. Every child knows that a country which ceased to work, I will not say for a year, but for a few weeks would die. Every child knows too, that the mass of products corresponding to the different needs require different and quantitatively determined means of the total labour of society. That this necessity of distributing social labour in definite proportions cannot be done away with by the particular form of social production but can only changeform it assumes, is self evident. No natural laws can be done away with. What can change, in changing historical circumstances, is the form in which these laws operate. And the form which this proportional division of labour operates, in a state of society where the interconnection of social labour is manifested in the private exchange of the individual products of labour, is precisely the exchange value of these products. The science consists precisely in working out how the law of value operates. So that if one wanted at the very beginning to ‘explain’ all the phenomena which apparently contradicted the law, one would have to give the science before the science.
Marx uses the formula C-M-C to describe the exchange of commodities under simple commodity production, also called petty commodity production. C denotes commodities and M denotes money. The formula C-M-C shows that money, that is, a commodity’s value form, intervenes in a process in which one set of use values is traded for another.
Marx contrasts the role of money in simple commodity production with its role in the formula M-C-M. Here one finds
the transformation of money into commodities, and the change of commodities back again into money; or buying in order to sell. Money that circulates in the latter manner [M-C-M] is thereby transformed into, becomes capital, and is already potentially capital. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter IV)
The merchant who buys a commodity in order to sell it again is trying to obtain more money than with which he began. Money, or more generally, the accumulation of capital has become a motive in itself. But what a trader gains in monetary value in a trade another trader loses. So gains from trade cannot be generalized to the world as a whole as an explanation for the source of surplus value. Yet capitalism is a system in which capitalists systematically make profits from the buying and selling of commodities, including the buying of inputs into production and the selling of produced goods. How, in principle, is this possible? The Marxist theory of exploitation answers this question,
Marx later expands M-C-M to M-C…P…C’-M’ where money is used to purchase commodities consisting of the means of production and labor power. The capitalist removes these commodities from the market and they enter the production process P. The products re-enter the market as commodities which sell for money.
Consider a very simple capitalist economy with a yearly cycle of production in which iron is produced from inputs of iron and labor. The inputs are purchased at the beginning of the year, and the produced iron is available at the end of the year. All the iron input is used up in producing the iron outputs. Suppose quantities flows are as shown in the following table:
|28 t. iron||&||56 workers||->||56 t. iron|
One Method of Calculating Labor Values. Twenty eight tons of the produced iron can be used to replace the iron input into this production process, leaving a surplus of 28 tons. In net terms, 56 workers produce a net output of 28 tons, or the net output is produced by 2 workers per ton iron. Thus, the labor value of a ton of iron is 2 person-years.
Another Method of Calculating Labor Values. Imagine that this technique has been used forever in the past. So the inputs of iron used in the current year, say 1997, were produced by inputs of labor and iron acquired in the previous year. This intellectual construction can be extended backwards indefinitely:
|Year||Iron Input/Output||Labor Input|
|1997||56 t. iron|
|1996||28 t. iron||56 person-years|
|1995||14 t. iron||28 person-years|
|1994||7 t. iron||14 person-years|
|1993||3.5 t. iron||7 person-years|
|Sum:||56 ( 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + … ) = 112 person-years|
Notice that the above table shows the same proportions of inputs and outputs for each year’s production process, as is to be expected if this technique is repeated year by year. With the exception of 1997, the output of iron for each year is used as input for the following year. The production of iron in this example with iron and labor in one year can be reduced to production with dated inputs consisting solely of labor. Fifty six tons iron embodies 112 person-years of labor. That is, one ton iron embodies two person-years.
|74 qr. wheat||&||37 t. iron||&||592 workers||->||592 qr. wheat|
|18 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||48 workers||->||48 t. iron|
These quantity flows can be broken down into two subsystems, one for wheat and another for iron, as shown in the following tables:
|73 9/17 qr. wheat||&||36 13/17 t. iron||&||588 4/17 workers||->||588 4/17 qr. wheat|
|14 12/17 qr. wheat||&||2 23/51 t. iron||&||39 11/51 workers||->||39 11/51 t. iron|
|8/17 qr. wheat||&||4/17 t. iron||&||3 13/17 workers||->||3 13/17 qr. wheat|
|3 5/17 qr. wheat||&||28/51 t. iron||&||8 40/51 workers||->||8 40/51 t. iron|
The proportions of inputs and outputs in the wheat industry are the same in each subsystem and the overall economy. These proportions identify the production process used in the wheat industry. The proportions of inputs and outputs in the iron industry are also unchanged between the subsystems and the overall economy. The subsystems show a conceptual division of the given economy-wide quantity flows across subsystems.
39 11/51 tons iron are produced and productively consumed in the wheat subsystem. The net output of the wheat subsystem consists of 500 quarters wheat alone. In effect, the wheat subsystem is a vertically-integrated industry for producing wheat. 627 23/51 person-years labor is the only non-reproduced input in the wheat subsystem. Hence 627 23/51 person-years are embodied in 500 quarters wheat, or the labor value of wheat is 1 13/51 person-years per quarter.
The iron subsystem shows a vertically-integrated industry for producing a net output of 8 tons iron with inputs of 12 28/51 person years. The labor value of iron is 1 29/51 person-years per ton. Notice that the ratio of the labor value of iron to the labor value of wheat, 1 1/4 quarters per ton, has the dimensions of a relative price.
One could also calculate labor values for this example by a reduction of all inputs to dated labor flows.
The answer would seem to be obviously hours or person-years, which is indeed the unit David Ricardo used to measure labor values. But Marx measured value in monetary units, such as British pounds. In some of his most difficult passages, Marx argues that money is the “universal equivalent form” of “value in general.” For example,
The first chief function of money is to supply commodities with the material for the expression of their values, or to represent their values as magnitudes of the same denomination, qualitatively equal, and quantitatively comparable. It thus serves as auniversal measure of value…It is not money that renders commodities commensurable. Just the contrary. It is because all commodities, as values, are realised human labour, and therefore commensurable, that their values can be measured by one and the same special commodity, and the latter be converted into the common measure of their values, i.e., into money. Money as a measure of value, is the phenomenal form that must of necessity be assumed by that measure of value which is immanent in commodities, labour-time. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter III, Section 1).
The opening chapters of Capital have been a continual subject of debate among Marxists. For example, some have located an initial statement and solution of the transformation problem here, rather than in the third volume. The opening chapters of Volume 1 provide suggestive passages along these lines:
The price-form, however, is not only compatible with the possibility of a quantitative incongruity between magnitude of value and price, i.e., between the former and its expression in money, but it may also conceal a qualitative inconsistency, so much so, that, although money is nothing but the value-form of commodities, price ceases altogether to express value. Objects that in themselves are no commodities, such as conscience, honour, etc., are capable of being offered for sale by their holders, and of thus acquiring, through their price, the form of commodities. Hence an object may have a price without having value. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter III, Section 1).
Notice that besides stating that the expression of value in money offers the possibility of a divergence between value and price, Marx here extends the LTV to cover commodities that are not and cannot be produced by labor.
Joint production occurs when a single production process has outputs of two or more commodities, such as wool and mutton. A process can no longer be identified with an industry; more than one process may be simultaneously in use for producing the same set of outputs. The analysis of the choice of technique must be handled simultaneously with the analysis of joint production.
Many analytical difficulties arise in the study of joint production, and some are associated with the determination of labor values. In general, one cannot calculate labor values for joint production by a reduction of inputs to dated labor flows. Nor can one necessarily calculate the labor value of a given commodity by creating a subsystem with the same processes used in the chosen technique, but a net output consisting solely of the desired commodity. One can, however, create two subsystems whose net output differs only by a quantity of the given commodity. The difference in labor inputs between these two subsystems can be said to be the labor embodied in that quantity of the given commodity. The labor value calculated by this method may be negative. Michio Morishima has proposed an alternative method for calculating labor values for systems with joint production. He proposes that the labor value of a commodity bundle should be the minimum amount of person hours needed to produce the desired quantities of commodity net.
Marx considers capital to consist of variable capital and constant capital. Those who might ask this question are probably thinking of the material components comprising constant capital alone. These material components can be divided into circulating capital and fixed capital. That portion of circulating capital that is also constant capital consists of those commodities, such as raw materials and semi-finished goods, that are totally used up in the (yearly) cycle of production and must be reproduced. Fixed capital consists of commodities that last for several production cycles, namely machinery and tools. Marx criticized the classical economists for frequently confusing circulating and variable capital.
Labor values are easily calculated for production processes that use circulating capital. This was demonstrated above with Example 3.1 and Example 3.2. Fixed capital can be correctly analyzed as a type of joint production. The outputs of a production process using a machine consist of whatever commodity is usually thought of as being produced by that process and a machine one year older. The labor value of the commodity can be defined as either the minimum amount of labor needed to produce it or the labor inputs into a system with just that commodity as net output and the machine being used for the same length of time that it is actually used in the economy.
(This example is taken from Ian Steedman.)
Consider a simple capitalist economy in which wheat is produced with the aid of a machine that can be used for two years. The machine is produced by a production process using inputs of wheat and labor. The production processes in use in this economy, each of which require a year to complete, are shown in the following table:
|84 qr. wheat||&||0 machines||&||84 workers||->||84 new machines|
|1,372 qr. wheat||&||84 new machines||&||840 workers||->||2,464 qr. wheat||&||84 old machines|
|84 qr. wheat||&||84 old machines||&||840 workers||->||840 qr. wheat|
Assume these production processes exhibit constant returns to scale.
In this example, 1,764 workers produce a net output of 1,764 qr. wheat net. So the labor value of wheat seems to be 1 person-year per quarter.
Choice of Technique. Could a capitalist economy operate with the technique shown above? Assume that a one-year old machine can be disposed of without cost. Then the capitalists could choose to produce the same net output with two production processes operating at the levels shown in the following table:
|147 qr. wheat||&||0 machines||&||147 workers||->||147 new machines|
|2,401 qr. wheat||&||147 new machines||&||1,470 workers||->||4,312 qr. wheat|
The proportions of inputs to outputs are unchanged from the corresponding processes when the machine is used for two years. Thus the processes for producing a new machine and for producing wheat with a new machine are unchanged between these two techniques, merely operated at different scales.
When the year-old machine is discarded, 1,617 workers can produce the same net output of 1,764 qr. wheat. So the efficient technique that would be chosen by a planned socialist state would result in 11/12 person-years being embodied in a quarter wheat. That is, more output can be produced with the same labor inputs by discarding the machine after it is used for only a year. But a physically inefficient technique can be adopted in a capitalist economy!
A full analysis of the choice of technique can only be performed by considering prices of production. Accordingly, consider the following set of prices:
|Price of 1 qr. wheat:||$1|
|Price of 1 new machine:||$1 79/84 = $1.94|
|Price of 1 old machine:||$0|
|Wage for one person-year:||$311/504 = $0.62|
|Rate of profits:||20%|
These prices will result in revenues covering costs at the going rate of profits for the two processes in the technique in which the one-year old machine is junked:
( 147 x $1 + 147 x $0.62 )( 1 + 0.20 ) = 147 x $1.94 ( 2,401 x $1 + 147 x $1.94 + 1,470 x $0.62 )( 1 + 0.20 ) = 4,312 x $1
Firms producing wheat at these prices will have no incentive to enter into machine manufacturing. Likewise, firms producing machines will have no incentive to remove their capital from machine manufacturing and enter into wheat production. But will a firm producing wheat have a monetary incentive to put some of their labor force to work producing wheat with a one-year old machine? Consider the costs and revenues at these prices for adding this new process:
Cost = ( 84 x $1 + 84 x $0 + 840 x $0.62 )( 1 + 0.20 ) = $726 Revenue = 840 x $1 = $840
So extra profits will be earned by using the machine for its full lifetime. Thus, a capitalist economy can adopt the inefficient technique in which the machine is run for two years and in which one person-year is embodied in each quarter wheat produced.
Labor Values of Machines. Now that one has seen that the technique in which machines are operated for two years can be adopted, we can consider the labor embodied in one and two year old machines. Suppose the processes in this technique are operated at the levels shown in the following table:
|172 qr. wheat||&||0 machines||&||172 workers||->||172 new machines|
|1,437 1/3 qr. wheat||&||88 new machines||&||880 workers||->||2,581 1/3 qr. wheat||&||88 old machines|
|88 qr. wheat||&||88 old machines||&||880 workers||->||880 qr. wheat|
The net output here is 1,764 qr. wheat and 84 new machines. We have seen that 1,764 of the 1,932 workers are required to produce the wheat. Hence the remaining 168 workers produce the 84 new machines. In other words, the labor value of a new machine is 2 workers per new machine.
We can also consider levels of operation of the production processes such that net output consists of the same quantity of wheat and additional old machines. In this example, this increase in net output is brought about by changing the scale of the processes such that total labor inputs decrease:
|120 qr. wheat||&||0 machines||&||120 workers||->||120 new machines|
|1,960 qr. wheat||&||120 new machines||&||1,200 workers||->||3,520 qr. wheat||&||120 old machines|
|36 qr. wheat||&||36 old machines||&||360 workers||->||360 qr. wheat|
Net output, which is produced by 1,680 workers consists of 1,764 qr. wheat and 84 old machines. 1,764 workers are required to produce 1,764 qr. wheat. So -84 workers are required to produce 84 old machines. Hence, the labor value of old machines is -1 worker per old machine. Labor values can be negative when they are calculated by this method.
Conclusions. This example demonstrates that labor values can be determined for capitalist economies that make use of fixed capital (that is, actually existing capitalist economies). If one adopts a definition of labor values such that Marx is correct in treating the labor embodied in a commodity basket as the sum of the labor values of the individual commodities, the following problems arise:
- The analysis of labor values requires a prior analysis of the choice of technique, which, contrary to Marx’s theory, requires a consideration of phenomena on the level of prices of production.
- The labor value of some commodities can be negative.
- The rate of profits can be positive even when workers are not exploited.
Alternatively, one can define the labor value of a bundle of goods as the minimum number of person-hours needed to produce that bundle as the net output. With this definition, the fundamental theorem of Marxism, that the rate of profits is positive if and only if labor is exploited, remains true. Furthermore, although the calculation of labor values requires an analysis of the choice of technique, this analysis need only consider the physical data of available production processes; the calculation of labor values does not require a prior determination of prices of production. Marx’s method of summing labor values, however, is invalid under this approach.
Durable non-produced means of production, such as land of a given fertility, are a special case of joint production. Land can be regarded as simultaneously an input and an output to certain production processes. Accordingly, the labor value of a commodity produced with the aid of natural resources (either directly or indirectly) is determined by the labor time required to increase the net output of society by one more unit of that commodity. This calculation will require an analysis of marginal land.
Exhaustible resources, which can be used as inputs but are not outputs of any production processes, present difficulties for the LTV. Examples include coal, oil, and various sorts of metallic ores. The Classical economists analyzed exhaustible resources by analogy to land. They generally ignored in their value theory that fertile mines would eventually be depleted. This procedure might be defended on the grounds that the time scale in which mines are depleted is longer than the time period for which labor values are calculated. This defense seems weak today when ecological issues are of concern.
Those seriously interested in this question should consider all of Chapter 1 of Marx (1867), especially Marx’s distinction between concrete and abstract labor. Part of the difficulty in understanding Marx’s notion of abstract labor is that he thought his theory reflected the topsy-turvy world of capitalism:
When I state that coats or boots stand in a relation to linen, because it is the universal incarnation of abstract human labor, the absurdity of the statement is self-evident. Nevertheless, when the producers of coats and boots compare these articles with linen, or, what is the same thing with gold or silver, as the universal equivalent, they express the relation between their own private labour and the collective labour of society in the same absurd form. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 4)
Robert Paul Wolff argues Marx chose the writing style he did, with all its attendant difficulties, to reflect his theory of the absurdities of capitalism.
Marx claims that different labors are equated when products of labor exchange on capitalist markets:
Hence, when we bring the products of our labour into relation with each other as values, it is not because we see in these articles the material receptables of homogeneous human labour. Quite the contrary; whenever, by an exchange, we equate as values our different products, by that very act, we also equate, as human labour, the different kinds of labour expended upon them. We are not aware of this, nevertheless we do it. Value, therefore, does not stalk about with a label describing what it is. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 4).
Perhaps Marx is more clear on this point in The Poverty of Philosophy:
Does labour time, as the measure of value, suppose at least that the days are equivalent, and that one man’s day is worth as much as another’s? No.Let us suppose for a moment that a jeweller’s day is equivalent to three days of a weaver; the fact remains that any change in the value of jewels relative to that of woven materials, unless it be the transitory result of the fluctuation of demand and supply, must have as its cause a reduction or an increase in the labour time expended in the production of one or the other. If three working days of different workers be related to one another in the ratio 1:2:3, then a change in the relative value of their products will be a change in the same proportion of 1:2:3. Thus values can be measured by labour time, in spite of the inequality of value of different working days; but to apply such a measure we must have a comparative scale of the different working days: it is competition that sets up this scale.
Is your hour’s labour worth mine? That is a question which is decided by competition. (Karl Marx 1955, Chapter I, Section 2).
The Classical economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo also thought different concrete labors could be reduced to a single measure of homogeneous labor. They relied on the supposed empirical fact of the stability of relative wages:
In speaking, however, of labour, as being the foundation of all value, and the relative quantity of labour as almost exclusively determining the relative value of commodities, I must not be supposed to be inattentive to the different qualities of labour, and the difficulty of comparing an hour’s or a day’s labour, in one employment, with the same duration of labour in another. The estimation in which different qualities of labour are held, comes soon to be adjusted in the market with sufficient precision for all practical purposes, and depends much on the comparative skill of the labourer, and intensity of the labour performed. The scale, when once formed, is liable to little variation. If a day’s labour of a working jeweller be more valuable than a day’s labour of a common labourer, it has long ago been adjusted, and placed in its proper position in the scale of value. (David Ricardo 1821, Chapter I, Section IV)
Ricardo quotes Adam Smith with approval:
But though labour be the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities, it is not that by which their value is commonly estimated. It is often difficult to ascertain the proportion between two different quantities of labour. The time spent in two different sorts of work will not alone determine this proportion. The different degrees of hardship endured, and of ingenuity exercised, must likewise be taken into account. There may be more labour in an hour’s hard work, than in two hours easy business; or, an hour’s application to a trade which it costs ten years’ labour to learn, than in a month’s industry at an ordinary and obvious employment. But it is not easy to find any accurate measure, either of hardship or ingenuity. In exchanging, indeed, the different productions of different sorts of labour for one another, some allowance is commonly made for both. It is adjusted, however, not by any accurate measure, but by the higgling and bargaining of the market, according to that sort of rough equality, which though not exact, is sufficient for carrying on the business of common life. (Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter V)
(See also Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter X.) It is interesting to note similarities between the Marx and Smith quotes above.
3.9 Doesn’t the LTV assert it is desirable for workers to become more lazy so the goods they produce would increase in value?
A country prospers not by increasing the labor value of a given output, but by increasing the use values that can be produced by the labor force. The “necessaries and conveniences of life,” as Adam Smith has it, are increased by decreasing the labor values of commodities.
Furthermore, capitalists have no incentive to increase labor values as such. Capitalists increase their profit by increasing surplus value. Surplus value is increased by increasing relative and absolute surplus value. Absolute and relative surplus value is increased by increasing the rate of exploitation of the workers. Decreasing the labor values of commodities results in an increase in relative surplus value.
Finally, Marx explicitly denied the premise of this question:
Some people might think that if the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labour spent on it, the more idle and unskillful the labourer, the more valuable would his commodity be, because more time would be required in its production. The labour, however, that forms the substance of value, is homogeneous human labour, expenditure of one uniform labour-power. The total labour-power of society, which is embodied in the sum total of the values of all commodities produced by that society, counts here as one homogeneous mass of human labour-power, composed though it be of innumerable individual units. Each of these units is the same as any other, so far as it has the character of the average labour-power of society, and takes effect as such; that is, so far as it requires for producing a commodity, no more time than is needed on an average, no more time than is socially necessary. The labour-time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production, and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time…We see then that that which determines the magnitude of the value of any article is the amount of labour socially necessary, or the labour-time socially necessary for its production. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter I, Section 1).
3.10 The cost of a good includes more than the cost of labor. Doesn’t this observation invalidate the LTV?
The labor value of a commodity is not the exchange value of the labor that is used to produce that commodity. Rather, the labor value of a commodity is the time required to produce a commodity, including the labor time needed to produce the capital goods with which that commodity is produced.
The price at which a good is typically sold exceeds the wages which would cover the labor time required to produce the good. This excess reflects a going rate of profit. This observation is no refutation of the LTV, but exactly what the LTV was used by Marx to explain, namely the exploitation of the worker under capitalism. Interestingly enough, Adam Smith makes a related observation:
As soon as stock has accumulated in the hands of particular persons, some of them will naturally employ it in setting to work industrious people, whom they will supply with materials and subsistence, in order to make a profit by the sale of their work, or by what their labour adds to the value of the materials…The value which the workmen add to the materials, therefore, resolves itself in this case into two parts, of which one pays their wages, the other the profits of their employer upon the whole stock of materials and wages which he advanced. (Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter VI)
Perhaps, those who ask this question are objecting to the nonsymmetrical treatment of factors in the LTV. Bourgeois economists typically explain the incomes received by labor, capital, and land by an incorrect theory in which the forces of supply and demand operating in each factor market determine each factor’s return. Although the LTV does include an analysis of capital and land, factors are not treated symmetrically in the LTV. For example, profits are explained as a residual in Classical economics.
As noted above, labor values are not costs. The first example above illustrates that labor values can be thought of as sums of past labor inputs or as quantities reflecting production processes occurring simultaneously. Labor values are not measures of past decisions under this latter conception. Marx was aware of this distinction:
Since the continuous, constantly repeated process of production is, at the same time, a process of reproduction, it is equally dependent on the coexisting labour which produces the various phases of the product simultaneously, while the product is passing through metamorphosis from one phase to another. [Raw] cotton, yarn, fabric, are not only produced one after the other and from one another, but they are produced and reproduced simultaneously, alongside one another. What appears as the effect of antecedent labour, if one considers the production process of the individual commodity, presents itself at the same time as the effect of coexisting labour, if one considers the reproduction process of the commodity, that is, if one considers this production process in its continuous motion and in the entirety of its conditions, and not merely an isolated action or a limited part of it. There exists not only a cycle comprising various phases, but all the phases are simultaneously produced in the various spheres and branches of production. If the same peasant just plants flax, then spins it, then weaves it, these operations are performed in sucession, but not simultaneously as the mode of production based on the division of labour within society presupposes. (Karl Marx 1971, Chapter XXI, Section 3.b)
This idea is also insightfully presented in Volume 2 of Capital.
The rate of profit is positive in the system of prices of production if and only if some workers are exploited. Michio Morishima stated and proved this mathematical theorem in his interpretation of Marx’s economics. It is true, with an appropriate definition of labor values, under a wide range of assumptions, including the existence of joint production, of production processes using circulating and fixed capital, of natural resources used in production, and of heterogeneous labor not reducible to a single dimension of abstract labor time.
4.2 If all commodities sold at their value, how would the capitalists be able to exploit the workers?
Given Marx’s definition of labor values, the labor value of output is the sum of the direct labor hours used to produce that output and the labor embodied in the means of production the laborers work up into the output. Since the labor value of the means of production are transferred unchanged to the output, Marx calls the means of production constant capital, and their labor values are denoted by C. According to Marx, workers do not sell their labor time, but the ability to work under the capitalists’ direction. Marx called this commodity labour power. The use value of labour power is the labor time for which laborers work. Since this commodity produces a greater value than it costs, Marx called labor power variable capital when viewed from the standpoint of the capitalist production process. The labor value of variable capital is denoted by V. Surplus value, denoted by S, results from the laborers working longer hours than needed to reproduce C + V. The labor value of output, in Marx’s labor accounting scheme, is C + V + S.
Exploitation is possible under capitalism because the capitalists purchase variable capital with part of their capital. When workers labor under the capitalists’ direction, the capitalists do their best to ensure the use value of labor power is a greater amount of time than the labor value of labor power.
This sphere,…within whose boundaries the sale and purchase of labour-power goes on, is in fact a very Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property, and Bentham. Freedom, because both buyer and seller of a commodity, say of labour-power, are constrained only by their own free will. They contract as free agents, and the agreement they come to, is but the form in which they give expression to their common will. Equality, because each enters into relation with the other, as with a simple owner of commodities, and they exchange equivalent for equivalent. Property, because each disposes only of what is his own. And Bentham, because each looks only to himself. The only force that brings them together and puts them in relation with each other, is the selfishness, the gain and the private interests of each. Each looks to himself only, and no one troubles himself about the rest, and just because they do so, do they all, in accordance with the pre-established harmony of things, or under the auspices of an all-shrewd providence, work together to their mutual advantage, for the common weal and in the interest of all. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter VI)
Perhaps Marx intended that last sentence ironically. But consider the following quote, in which Marx describes the gains from trade:
So far as regards use-values, it is clear that both parties may gain some advantage. Both part with goods that, as use-values, are of no service to them, and receive others that they can make use of. And there may also be a further gain. A, who sells wine and buys corn, possibly produces more wine, with given labour time than farmer B could, and B, on the other hand, more corn than wine-grower A could. A, therefore, may get, for the same exchange value, more corn, and B more wine, than each would respectively get without any exchange by producing his own corn and wine. With reference, therefore, to use-value, there is good ground for saying that ‘exchange is a transaction by which both sides gain.’ (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter V)
So it would seem that proponents of the objection to the Marxist account of exploitation need to consider how Marx could have found these ideas consistent with his theory. Note that these quotes describe only the exchange of use-values. They do not characterize the unity of production and circulation under capitalist institutions.
By labour-power or capacity for labour is to be understood the aggregate of those mental and physical capabilities existing in a human being, which he exercises whenever he produces a use-value of any description. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter VI).
According to Marx, labor power is available on the market as a commodity that the capitalist can buy only if the worker has the “double freedom” (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter XXVI) of being free to sell his labor-power and from encumberances resulting from owning land or produced means of production. If the worker used means of production that he owned, he would sell the products of his labor, not his labor power.
The labor embodied in labor power is the labor value of the means of subsistence which the worker requires to reproduce his labor power. In other words, the value of labor power is the labor value of “necessary consumption” used to maintain the workers. The use value of labor power is the labor which the capitalist can get out of the worker. The difference between the number of hours which the worker works and the labor value of labor power is the source of profit under capitalism.
That part of capital then, which is represented by the means of production, by the raw material, auxiliary material and the instruments of labour, does not, in the process of production, undergo any quantitative alteration of value. I therefore call it the constant part of capital, or, more shortly constant capital. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter VIII).
…that part of capital, represented by labor power, does in the process of production, undergo an alteration of value. It both reproduces the equivalent of its own value, and also produces an excess, a surplus-value, which may itself vary, may be more or less according to circumstances. That part of capital is continually being transformed from a constant into a variable magnitude. I therefore call it the variable part of capital, or, shortly variable capital. The same elements of capital which, from the point of view of the labour process, present themselves respectively as the objective and subjective factors, as means of production and labour power, present themselves, from the point of view of the process of creating surplus value, as constant and variable capital. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter VIII).
All capital is either constant or variable. The organic composition of capital is the ratio of the labor value of constant capital to the labor value of variable capital. In other words, the organic composition of capital is the ratio of the labor value of the means of production (constant) to total wages (variable). Roughly, the organic composition of capital is a measure of capital intensity.
According to Marx, surplus value can only be realized through exploitation of variable capital; therefore, a change in the organic composition of capital has an effect on working hours and wages.
Surplus value is the difference between the number of hours the laborer works and the amount of labor time necessary to maintain the worker. In other words, it is the difference between the worker’s use value and the labor value of variable capital.
The rate of surplus value is the ratio of surplus value to the value of variable capital, or S/V. It can also be thought of as the ratio of surplus labor to necessary labor, where necessary labor is the labor needed to reproduce the means of production used up in a yearly production cycle and the consumption goods which support the workers. A third way of thinking of the rate of surplus value is as the ratio of the labor time for which the capitalists do not pay to the paid labor time:
The rate of surplus-value is therefore an exact expression for the degree of exploitation of labour-power by capital, or of the labourer by the capitalist. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter IX)
Therefore the rate of surplus value is also called the rate of exploitation.
The surplus-value produced by prolongation of the working day, I call absolute surplus value. On the other hand, the surplus-value arising from the curtailment of the necessary labour-time, and from the corresponding alteration in the respective lengths of the two components of the working day, I call relative surplus value. (Karl Marx 1867, Chapter XII).
Absolute surplus value is increased by increasing surplus value for a given labor value of variable capital. That is, absolute surplus value is increased by making laborers work for more hours per day, more weeks per year, etc.
Marx’s definition of relative surplus value was given above along with his definition of absolute surplus value. Relative surplus value is increased by a reduction in the labor value of variable capital for an unchanged working day (S + V). This reduction can be accomplished by:
- Decreasing the wage
- Increasing the intensity with which laborers work
- Reducing wasted output and output that cannot be sold because of inadequate quality
- Reducing the use of material inputs per unit output, for example, by reducing wasted inputs
- Adopting more productive machines and using existing machines more efficiently
Since surplus value is the source of profits, it is in the capitalists’ interest to increase both absolute and relative surplus value. Marx provided an analysis of many historical and contemporary examples of the practical consequences of these pressures.
Prices of production for a competive capitalist economy show the same rate of profit being earned in all industries. They are a set of prices that allow smooth reproduction of an economy in which goods and services are traded on markets.
The clearest example of “exchange-values [which] spring directly from the methods of production” (P. Sraffa) are found in a simple economy which does not produce a surplus and in which labor inputs do not explicitly appear. Consider an economy that produces three goods – wheat, iron, and pigs – with a yearly cycle of production. The wheat industry begins the year with inputs of 240 quarters wheat, 12 tons iron, and 18 pigs and uses these inputs to produce 450 quarters wheat. The iron industry uses 90 quarters wheat, 6 tons iron, and 12 pigs to produce 21 tons iron. The pig industry uses inputs of 120 quarters wheat, 3 tons irons, and 30 pigs to produce 60 pigs. This economy can be presented in tabular fashion:
|240 qr. wheat||&||12 t. iron||&||18 pigs||->||450 qr. wheat|
|90 qr. wheat||&||6 t. iron||&||12 pigs||->||21 t. iron|
|120 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||30 pigs||->||60 pigs|
Notice that the outputs just replace the inputs. Each industry only has their own goods at the end of year. Production cannot continue without trade to redistribute the outputs among industries into the proportions needed for inputs. The exchange values which ensure replacement all round are 10 qr. wheat = 1 t. iron = 2 pigs. So prices of production for this example could be:
|Price of 1 qr. wheat:||$1|
|Price of 1 t. iron:||$10|
|Price of 1 pig:||$5|
One could interpret this example economy as implicitly using labor in the production of commodities. Perhaps some of the wheat and pig inputs are used to feed the workers in each industry. Also note that this economy’s reproduction requires triangular trade among the industries. Probably one good would be used as money.
(The example is taken from Piero Sraffa.)
|74 qr. wheat||&||37 t. iron||&||592 workers||->||592 qr. wheat|
|18 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||48 workers||->||48 t. iron|
Each industry’s output must be sold at a price that covers the cost of the inputs so as to allow the reproduction of this economy. Since this is a competitive capitalist economy, the rate of profits must be constant across industries. Hence prices of production solve the following system of equations:
( 74 pw + 37 pi + 592 w )( 1 + r ) = 592 pw ( 18 pw + 3 pi + 48 w )( 1 + r ) = 48 pi
- pw is the price of wheat
- pi is the price of iron
- w is the wage
- r is the rate of profits.
This system of equations shows the capitalists advancing the wages to the workers. A different formulation would show the workers as advancing their labor power to the capitalists and being paid from the output.
There are four unknowns, but only two equations. One unknown is fixed by choosing a numeraire, say the net output per worker. The other degree of freedom is typically taken to be the wage-rate of profits frontier. The location on that frontier could be given by taking either the wage or the rate of profits as given data. Prices of production for this little model economy are:
pw = 320/(255 + r) pi = 80 (5 + r)/(255 + r) w = 5 (3 - r) (17 + r)/[ (255 + r) (1 + r) ]
Notice that the wage is higher for a lower rate of profits.
5.3 Why call these exchange values “prices of production,” rather than “costs,” “costs of production,” “natural prices,” or “necessary prices?”
The expressions “costs” and “costs of production” seem to imply that prices of production depend merely on what must be paid for the means of production, wages, and profits. But this impression is one-sided for commodities that enter directly or indirectly into the production of all other commodities. Their prices of production depend upon their use in the production of other commodities as much as they depend upon the extent into which they enter their own production. For instance, the price of iron in the second example above depends both on the commodities needed to produce it and on how much iron is used in producing wheat.
The Classical economists, particularly Adam Smith and David Ricardo, used the expressions “natural prices” or “necessary prices.” These terms are avoided here because of their association with mistaken or unclear theories in these authors.
Adam Smith had an “adding-up” theory of natural prices:
When the price of any commodity is neither more nor less than than what is sufficient to pay the rent of the land, the wages of the labour, and the profits of the stock employed in raising, preparing, and bringing it to market, according to their natural rates, the commodity is then sold for what may be called its natural price. (Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter VII)
Smith incorrectly thought natural wages, rents, and profits could vary independently of one another. This Smithian theory is connected with Smith’s mistaken belief that a rise in natural wages would cause a rise in all prices.
Ricardo assumed natural prices as equal to labor values as an aid to criticism of Smith’s theory. If prices of production were equal to labor values, the rate of profit would be found from the industry producing wage-goods alone, where wage-goods are those commodities which the workers buy with their wages. Profits in the wage-good industry would be the difference between the labor embodied in wage-goods and the sum of the labor embodied in the means of production and the labor embodied in the wage-goods consumed by the workers in the wage-good industries. The rate of profits would be the ratio of the labor value of profits in the wage-good industry to the sum of the labor embodied in the means of production and the labor embodied in the wage-goods purchased by the workers producing wage-goods:
r = [ v1 - ( c + v ) ] / ( c + v ) = [ v1 / ( c + v ) ] - 1
- r is the rate of profits
- v1 is the labor embodied in wage goods
- c is the labor embodied in the means of production of the wage-good industry
- v is the labor embodied in the wage goods consumed by the workers in the wage-good industry.
The use of labor as a measure of both input and output in the production of wage-goods shows the rate of profits as a ratio of physical quantities, independent of valuation. This makes it apparent that (real) wages cannot rise without a fall in the rate of profits, given technology. This conclusion, however, can be shown without the simplifying assumption, while elaborating Ricardo’s analysis of the effects of a rise of wage on prices, including a fall in the prices of production of some commodities.
Although Ricardo’s approach is an insightful simplification, it can mislead the unwary into confusing labor values and natural prices in Classical economics. Since Marx clearly distinguished between labor values and prices of production, his terminology is adopted here.
The actual price at which any commodity is commonly sold is called its market price. It may either be above, or below, or exactly the same with its [price of production]. (Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter VII)
The price of production,
therefore, is, as it were, the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating. Different accidents may sometimes keep them suspended a good deal above it, and sometimes force them down even somewhat below it. But whatever may be the obstacles which hinder them from settling in this center of repose and continuance, they are constantly tending towards it. (Smith 1776, Book I, Chapter VII)
The articulation of this metaphor of prices of production acting as centers of gravitational attraction is a research question among some contemporary economists. For example, even if one does not think market prices tend toward prices of production, might the differences between market prices and prices of production be useful in analyzing investment plans?
The realization problem is Marxist terminology arising in the analysis of differences between market prices and prices of production. If proportions between industries are inappropriate, some capitalists firms may find that they cannot sell all of their output at the corresponding prices of production. Or there may be a general overproduction in which all the commodities produced cannot be sold. (Marx, in contrast to some Classical economists, denied Say’s law. Say’s law implies that persistent general overproduction (depression) is impossible.)
In either case, not all firms will receive the appropriate rate of profit for their cost structure. Consequently, capitalists will disinvest in some sectors and more heavily invest in others. This process will cease only if all firms can sell their output at prices of production. Adam Smith called this level of output the level of “effectual demand.” Notice that effectual demand is a specified quantity, not a schedule relating quantities and prices.
Neoclassical economics is commonly regarded as having been the dominant school of thought among Western academic economists for over a century. Although they had interesting precursors, W. Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger, and Leon Walras are usually thought to have initiated Neoclassical economics in the 1870s with almost simultaneous presentations of their theories. Briefly, Neoclassical economists claim to explain prices as the result of an equilibrium of Supply and Demand in all markets. The ultimate determinates of prices are technology, tastes (in the form of utility functions), and endowments. Equilibrium prices are thought to coordinate individual maximization problems.
Alfred Marshall replaced the Classical distinction between market prices and prices of production with the notion of equilibrium existing in various runs. The most important of Marshall’s equilibrium concepts are short run and long run equilibrium. In short run equilibrium, agents in the economy have chosen the optimal level of operation of a given capacity. In long run equilibrium, capacity output, levels of operation, and the mix of all inputs are all choice variables. The associated set of long run equilibrium prices are known as “normal prices.” Normal prices show all industries earning the same normal rate of profits in competitive conditions.
Prices of production are sufficiently close to the notion of Neoclassical long-run equilibrium prices that a critique of Neoclassical economics can be built upon an analysis of how prices of production vary with distribution. Prices of production, however, are conceptually distinct from Neoclassical long-run equilibrium prices. Some distinctions between the settings for Neoclassical normal long run equilibrium prices and Classical prices of production are outlined here. Elaborations on most of these themes can be found in the writings of Krishna Bharadwaj, Pierangelo Garegnani, and Alessandro Roncaglia.
Competition. Neoclassical long run equilibrium prices and prices of production are based on different conceptions of competition. Perfect competition, according to Neoclassical economists, exists when no participant in the market has the power to change prices solely through their own actions. Each agent accepts all prices as given parameters. The Classical conception of competition, on the other hand, is merely that there are no barriers to entry or exit in a market. Consequently, there will be a tendency for differences in prices and the rate of profit to level out.
These different abstractions regarding competition are reflected in different theories for non-competitive markets. The Classical economist sees monopolistic barriers to entry as being reflected in persistent differences in rates of profits. A simple approach would be to assume given ratios between rates of profits in different industries in calculating prices of production.
Some academic economists have recently elaborated Classical theories of oligopoly. These Classical theories can be seen in the work of Joe Bain and Paolo Sylos Labini. Sylos Labini, at least, explicitly acknowledges the Classical elements in his theories.
Unemployment and clearing of the labor market. The Neoclassical conception of competitive equilibrium shows all markets clearing, including the labor market. Thus, persistent involuntary unemployment can be analyzed by Neoclassical economics only with great difficulty, if at all:
The structure of modern economics is inhospitable to the idea of persistent unemployment and is always trying to extrude it. Only the stubborn refusal of the brute fact to go away has kept the analytical problem alive. (Robert Solow)
On the other hand, the quantity relationships for which prices of production are calculated are compatible with involuntary unemployment. Capacity is fully used when prices of production are realized, but this issue is separate from whether or not all workers can find a job. Since the same rate of profits is being achieved in all industries, there is no tendency for investment to change. Neoclassical economists may think there would be a tendency for wages to fall in a situation with involuntary unemployment and for firms to adopt relatively more labor-intensive techniques of production. But Classical economics was not based on substitution principles, and modern economists have vindicated the Classical analysis.
Some economists have therefore concluded that prices of production, and Classical economics more generally, provide the natural long period setting for a generalization of Keynes’ economics. Heinrich Bortis, Jan Kregel, Edward Nell, and Luigi Pasinetti are some contemporary economists currently researching the integration of Classical economics and Keynes. This position is controversial. Some economists, for example, Paul Davidson, think this approach risks downplaying the existence of nonergodic uncertainty, which they think is the fundamental cause of unemployment in a monetary production economy.
Normative versus positive analysis. As shown by William Jaffe, Walras developed General Equilibrium Theory to illustrate a “realistic” utopia conforming to certain of his ideas of justice in exchange. Neoclassical economists have continued to found their analysis on the examination of the logical consistency of an utopia. Actually existing societies are analyzed by examining deviations from utopian norms.
Classical economics, on the other hand, is a matter of trying to understand how actually existing capitalist societies function. Although the Classical economists had a pre-analytical vision of essential characteristics of their societies, their analysis in itself is not explicitly normative in the same sense that Neoclassical economics is. Of course, the Classical economists were doing political economy and applied their analyses to political ends.
Production and consumption. Neoclassical economics begins with consumption. A pure exchange economy is a standard introductory model for Neoclassical economists. This is true historically for Walras, and quite frequently papers in bourgeois economics journals are restricted to consumption. For example, a famous paper dealt with a Prisoner of War (POW) economy in which no production occurs, but Red Cross packages provide a periodic flow of consumer goods. Neoclassical economists have not reached a consensus on how to model production. In the opinion of the original author of this FAQ, there is no Neoclassical theory of production that is theoretically coherent, logically consistent, and empirically applicable.
Production is the focus of Classical economics and of analyses associated with prices of production. Although Marx recognized that commodities have a use value, he explicitly stated with his famous formula M-C…P…C’-M’ that capitalist production is directed at profit.
Reproducability versus the allocation of given resources. Neoclassical theory is not based on analyzing the reproducability of an economy. Rather, Neoclassical theory is about the allocation of given goods and a one-way process beginning with scarce resources and ending with consumer goods being purchased to satisfy given tastes. Equilibrium prices are mistakenly taken as indicators of relative scarcities, not as ratios linked to a regular repetition of production processes. Classical economists put reproducability at the center of their analysis. This emphasis predates the LTV and can be seen in Francois Quesnay’s Tableau Economique. If one wants to understand how capitalist economies have continued to expand for centuries and why this process might terminate, Classical economics seems to provide more appropriate analytical tools than Neoclassical economics.
Relationships between quantities and prices. Neoclassical economics shows quantities and prices as simultaneously and mutually determined in all markets. Tastes, technologies, and endowments are taken as given data. Calculating normal prices from these data leads to a logical inconsistency or, at least, theoretical incoherence. Walras attempted to obtain equilibrium prices for a stationary state. But, if endowments of produced means of production are given, only one of these capital goods is likely to be reproduced. The production of the others will obtain a lower rate of profit, and they will not be reproduced.
Prices of production, on the other hand, are calculated from a different set of data. The level and composition of output, that is, quantities, are taken as given. So is distribution. Either the rate of profits or the wage is given data. (If labor is taken as heterogeneous, either relative wages and the absolute level of one wage, or the rate of profits and all but one wage are given data.) Given quantities and distribution, prices of production and the remaining distributive variable can be calculated. This structure of Classical value theory allows one to analyze effects which directly change coefficients of production, such as the increasing returns that Adam Smith stated result from an increase in the extent of the market. With the prior determination of quantities,
…the theory of value will lose the all-embracing quality it assumed with the marginal method. But what will be lost in scope will certainly be gained in consistency and, we may hope, fruitfulness. (P. Garegnani)
5.7 How has an analysis of prices of production been used to construct a critique of bourgeois economics?
By showing that given their own assumptions, Neoclassical economists lack any sound conceptual basis for establishing the existence of markets, particularly factor markers, with well-behaved supply and demand relationships. Thus, Neoclassical economists have yet to show that an equilibriation of supply and demand, as conceived in Neoclassical economics, can explain prices.
This critique was promoted among academic economists by the Neo-Ricardian or Sraffian school in what has become known as the Cambridge Capital Controversy (Harcourt 1972). Neoclassical economists have responded to this critique by:
- Encouraging ignorance of the economics literature, the history of thought, and scholarship in general so as to ignore the critique.
- Misrepresenting the critique as addressing only the measurement problem of constructing an adequate index number for capital.
- Discarding long run Neoclassical theories, aggregate macroeconomic theories, and the marginal productivity theory of distribution in favor of disaggregated intertemporal and temporary General Equilibrium models, in which nearly anything can happen and nothing need happen.
The Cambridge Capital Controversy is generally agreed to have exposed certain problems with Neoclassical capital theory. For example, Bohm-Bawerk’s theory in which the interest rate is determined by the interaction of subjective time preferences and the supposedly greater productivity of techniques with a longer period of production was shown to be incoherent in multicommodity models. More recent capital theories shown to be incoherent include Robert Solow’s growth theory and his formulation of Irving Fisher’s capital theory in which interest rates are the price of intertemporal trades.
Neo-Ricardians have yet to formulate a definitive critique of short-run disaggregated theories. Garegnani has recently suggested that a sequence of temporary equilibria can exhibit behavior Neoclassical economists find perverse. Bertram Schefold argues that the Cambridge Capital Controversy is related to stability problems in neoclassical models of intertemporal equilibrium paths. A general conclusion of the critique is that equilibrium prices are not scarcity indices. A higher price of an input into production is not necessarily associated with a tendency for firms to adopt techniques that use that input less intensively. Nor need firms necessarily increase the production of commodities that use that input less intensively and decrease the production of commodities that use that input more intensively.
The transformation problem is how to transform relationships in the system of labor values into relationships in the system of prices of production. The principle relationships to have been investigated in the literature revolve around:
- Relative prices and values
- The rate of profit
- Total surplus value and total profits
- Total value and total prices.
All of these quantities have been investigated in input/output models that abstract from concrete phenomena characteristic of actually existing capitalism, such as monopolies. Some Marxists have questioned whether quantitative relationships should be expected to hold between values and prices since they belong to different levels of analysis.
Because of the variability of organic composition of capital among different industries:
Suppose I employ twenty men at an expense of 1000 pounds for a year in the production of a commodity, and at the end of the year I employ twenty men again for another year, at a further expense of 1000 pounds in finishing or perfecting the same commodity, and that I bring it to market at the end of two years, if profits be 10 per cent., my commodity must sell for 2,310 pounds.; for I have employed 1000 pounds capital for one year, and 2,100 pounds capital for one year more. Another man employs precisely the same quantity of labour, but he employs it all in the first year; he employs forty men at an expense of 2000 pounds, and at the end of the first year he sells it with 10 per cent. profit, or for 2,200 pounds. Here then are two commodities having precisely the same quantity of labour bestowed on them, one of which sells for 2,310 pounds – the other for 2,200 pounds. (David Ricardo 1821, Chapter I, Section IV)
So if market prices tend towards prices of production, market prices will not tend towards relative labor values. Marx thought Ricardo did not totally understand his own examples on this point. According to Marx, Ricardo mistakenly emphasized how relative prices alter with variations in wages, rather than the differences between relative prices of production and relative labor values at any positive rate of profits:
What [Ricardo] does in fact examine is this: supposing that cost-prices differ from the values of commodities – and the assumption of a general rate of profit presupposes this difference – how in turn are these cost-prices (which are now, for a change, called “relative values”) themselves reciprocally modified by the rise or fall in wages, taking also into account the varying proportions of the organic component parts of capital? If Ricardo had gone into this more deeply, he would have found that – owing to the diversity in the organic composition of capital which first manifests itself in the immediate production process as the difference between variable and constant capital and is later enlarged by differences arising from the circulation process – the mere existence of a general rate of profit necessitates cost-prices that differ from values. He would have found that, even if wages are assumed to remain constant, the difference exists and therefore is quite independent of the rise or fall in wages. (Karl Marx 1968, Chapter X, SectionA.4.a)
Anyways, Marx understood that the LTV, considered as a determination of relative prices, cannot be expected to be true. But Ricardo and Marx investigated the LTV for reasons connected with distribution, accumulation, laws of motion of capitalist economies, and an explanation of the source of profits.
When the rate of profits is zero or when the organic composition of capital does not vary between industries.
Marx’s solution to the transformation problem is in chapter 9 of the third volume of Capital, in Part II (Chapter VIII, Section 6 and Chapter XV, Section 5) of Theories of Surplus Value, and in a letter to Engels (2 August 1862). Marx presents his solution by means of various examples, the most straightforward from the third volume being presented in the table below.
|Sphere of Production||Capitals||Surplus Value||Labor Value||Price of Production||Divergence|
|I.||70c + 30v||30s||130||120||-10|
|II.||80c + 20v||20s||120||120||0|
|III.||90c + 10v||10s||110||120||+10|
|Total||240c + 60v||60s||360||360||0|
The economy is assumed to be composed of three sectors of varying organic compositions of capital (second column). Note that the second sector has an average organic composition of capital. The quantities of surplus value shown in the third column are derived under the assumption that the rate of surplus value is 100%. The ratio of total surplus value to the total value of capital is 20%. Marx mistakenly derives the rate of profits from a system with constant capital costed up with embodied labor values, thereby assuming the rate of profits is 20%. Since the value of capital is 100 in each sector, Marx sets the price of production of the output of each sector to 120.
As can be seen in the table, prices of production deviate from labor values except for a sector with an average organic composition of capital. The labor value of total output, though, is equal to total output when evaluated in prices of production, 360. Likewise, under Marx’s procedure, total profits are equal to total surplus value, 60. If Marx were correct, surplus value would be generated from exploitation of the worker and then redistributed in the form of profits. This redistribution would result in prices of production that deviate from labor values so as to obtain equal rates of profits in all sectors. In short,
[the] average rate of profit can and must come about, not only without violating the law of value, but precisely on the basis of this law… (From Frederick Engels’ preface to Volume 2 of Capital)
The development given above also involves a modification in the determination of a commodity’s cost price. It was originally assumed that the cost price of a commodity equalled the value of the commodities consumed in its production. But for the buyer of a commodity, it is the price of production that constitutes its cost price and can thus enter into forming the price of another commodity. As the price of production of a commodity can diverge from its value, so the cost price of a commodity, in which the price of production of other commodities is involved, can also stand above or below the portion of its total value that is formed by the value of the means of production going into it. It is necessary to bear in mind this modified significance of the cost price, and therefore to bear in mind too that if the cost price of a commodity is equated with the value of the means of production used up in producing it, it is always possible to go wrong. (Karl Marx 1894, Chapter 9)
When the inputs are evaluated at their prices of production, equalities that Marx relied on no longer obtain in the dual system approach. If the same prices of production are used for the inputs to and the outputs from production processes, the correct rate of profit will generally not be equal to Marx’s rate of profit in the value schema ( S/( C + V ) ). Total profits will generally deviate from total surplus value. And the total labor value of the national product will deviate from its price when all commodities are evaluated at prices of production. (One of these latter two equalities can be imposed by choosing an appropriate numeraire.)
Consider a simple capitalist economy in which wheat and iron are produced by the production processes described in the following table. Notice that if both processes are operated at an unit level, twice as many workers are employed in the iron industry as the wheat industry. When the processes are operated in the ratios shown, the net output consists solely of 204 qr. wheat. Since this output is produced by 272 workers, the labor embodied in each quarter wheat is 1 1/3 person years.
|30 qr. wheat||&||15 t. iron||&||240 workers||->||240 qr. wheat|
|6 qr. wheat||&||1 t. iron||&||32 workers||->||16 t. iron|
The following table shows a vertically integrated iron industry for the same processes operated at different ratios. 102 workers produce a net output of 272 t. iron. So the labor value of each ton of iron is 2 2/3 person-years. Note that the ratio of the labor value of iron to wheat is the same as the ratio of direct labor inputs. This equality always holds in these circulating capital models when the organic composition of capital is constant across industries.
|6 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||48 workers||->||48 qr. wheat|
|42 qr. wheat||&||7 t. iron||&||224 workers||->||112 t. iron|
Prices of production satisfy the following system of equations:
( 30 pw + 15 pi + 240 w )( 1 + r ) = 240 pw ( 6 pw + 1 pi + 32 w )( 1 + r ) = 16 pi
Given a certain choice of numeraire, the solution is as follows:
pw = $1.33 pi = $2.67 w = (3 - r)/[3 (1 + r)] or r = 3 (1 - w)/(1 + 3 w)
Notice that prices of production for this example do not vary with the distribution of income. Furthermore, prices of production are equal to labor values in this example. Having calculated labor values and prices of production, one can construct the following table for this example:
|Sector||Constant Capital||Variable Capital||Surplus Value/Profit||Value/Price of Output|
|Wheat||80||240 w||240 (1 – w)||320|
|Iron||10 2/3||32 w||32 (1 – w)||42 2/3|
|Total||90 2/3||272 w||272 (1 – w)||362 2/3|
It does not matter in the above table whether one calculates in labor values or prices of production; the entries are the same. Notice that the ratio of the value of variable capital to constant capital is the same in both industries. This observation is another manifestation of the constancy of the organic composition of capital across sectors.
Finally, one can express the wage as a function of how much labor time is obtained free by the capitalists:
w = 1/(1 + e)
where e is the rate of exploitation. When the workers obtain pay for all time worked, the rate of exploitation is zero and the wage is unity. If physical quantity flows remain unchanged, a lower wage results from the capitalists paying for less of the time that the labor force works.
The same example was used to illustrate the calculation of labor values and prices of production. Since the organic composition of capital differs between sectors in this example, it provides an illustration of difficulties with the LTV. The following table shows the quantity flows in this example:
|74 qr. wheat||&||37 t. iron||&||592 workers||->||592 qr. wheat|
|18 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||48 workers||->||48 t. iron|
Comparison of Value and Price Accounting. It was shown above that the labor emodied in wheat is 1 13/51 person-years per quarter and that the labor embodied in iron is 1 29/51 person-years per ton. Assume that the value of the yearly wage is equal to the proportion of the net output it can purchase. Then one can calculate the labor value quantities shown in the following table:
|Sector||Constant Capital||Variable Capital||Surplus Value||Value of Output|
|Wheat||150 46/51||592 w||592 (1 – w)||742 46/51|
|Iron||27 5/17||48 w||48 (1 – w)||75 5/17|
|Total||178 10/51||640 w||640 (1 – w)||818 10/51|
Prices of production were also calculated above. Notice that prices of production are equal to labor values only when the rate of profits are zero. The following table is constructed using the physical quantity flows and prices of production:
|Sector||Price of Constant Capital||Wages||Profits||Price of Output|
|Wheat||2,960 (13 + r)/(255 + r)||592 w||2,960 (51 – r)/(255 + r) – 592 w||189,440/(255 + r)|
|Iron||240 (29 + r)/(255 + r)||48 w||240 (51 + 15 r)/(255 + r) – 48 w||3,840 (5 + r)/(255 + r)|
|Total||640 (71 + 5 r)/(255 + r)||640 w||640 (1 – w)||1,280 ( 163 + 3 r)/(255 + r)|
Only one of Marx’s equalities is satisfied for this data. Total surplus value is equal to total profits. This equality was established by choosing the net output per worker as the numeraire. At wages corresponding to positive profits, the prices of outputs and capital goods differs from labor values. Consequently, the total labor value of output differs from the total price of output for this example. Also, the rate of profit is not S/(C + V). Does this re-evaluation of output invalidate Marx’s theory that the source of profits is the exploitation of the worker? Notice that profits are positive if and only if the rate of exploitation is positive.
More on the Organic Composition of Capital. Prices of production are proportional to labor values when the organic composition of capital is constant across industries. When this condition is met, capital per worker is also constant across industries, where capital per worker is calculated by evaluating per capita capital goods at prices of production. Since relative prices deviate from labor values in this example, capital per worker must also vary across industries.
The example illustrates this variation. Using the data in the price accounting table and the known relationship between wages and the rate of profits, the capital intensity for this economy as a whole, k, is established to be
k = (71 + 5 r) (1 + r)/[ 5 (3 - r) (17 + r) ].
The wheat industry is less capital-intensive than average, and the iron industry is more capital-intensive. The difference between capital-intensities in these industries and the average capital intensity is (in obvious notation):
k - kw = 6 (1 + r)/[ 5 (3 - r) (17 + r) ] ki - k = 74 (1 + r)/[ 5 (3 - r) (17 + r) ]
It is interesting to compare these deviations of the wheat and iron industries from the average capital intensity with the deviations of the vertically integrated wheat and iron industries. It was shown above how to reapportion the given quantity flows so as to create two subsystems whose net outputs are wheat and iron, respectively. Wages and the prices of the capital goods can be totaled in each subsystem to obtain capital per worker for each subsystem. The vertically integrated wheat industry is still less capital intensive than average, and the vertically integrated iron industry remains more capital intensive. The capital intensities of the vertically integrated wheat industry and the vertically integrated iron industry differ from the average capital intensity, respectively, by
(1 + r)/[ 5 (3 - r) (17 + r) ]
50 (1 + r)/[ 5 (3 - r) (17 + r) ]
So the capital intensity of the wheat industry differs from the average six times as much as the capital intensity of the vertically integrated wheat industry. The capital intensity of the iron industry differs only 1.48 times as much as the difference of the vertically integrated iron industry and the average capital intensity. The analytical process of vertical integration seems to reduce variations among industries in the value of capital per head.
The point of these observations is difficult to explain without advanced mathematics. The LTV is a valid theory of price when both direct labor coefficients and labor values are eigenvectors of the input-output matrix corresponding to the Perron-Frobenius root of the input-output matrix. If the difference between the average capital intensity and the capital intensity of vertically integrated industries is usually smaller than the difference between the average capital intensity and the capital intensity of non-vertically integrated industries, then labor values will usually be a better approximation than direct labor inputs to an eigenvector for the Perron-Frobenius root of the input-output matrix. That is, the LTV will usually be a good approximate theory of price.
On the Production of a Commodity of Average Organic Composition. One can also decompose the given quantity flows to consider the production of a commodity of average organic composition, in some technical sense different from Marx’s. The other sector produces the wheat remaining in the gross output. The following table shows the production of a composite commodity of average organic composition.
|18 qr. wheat||&||9 t. iron||&||144 workers||->||144 qr. wheat|
|18 qr. wheat||&||3 t. iron||&||48 workers||->||48 t. iron|
Total capital in this sector consists of 36 qrs. wheat and 12 t. iron, a ratio of three to one. Gross and net outputs are also in this ratio. This is a defining property of Piero Sraffa’s “standard commodity.” Since these quantity flows result from a mere rescaling of the given production processes, the labor values of wheat and iron remain unchanged. Labor values can be used to evaluate inputs and outputs, resulting in the following table:
|Sector||Constant Capital||Variable Capital||Surplus Value||Value of Output|
|Wheat||36 12/17||144 w||144 (1 – w)||180 12/17|
|Iron||27 5/17||48 w||48 (1 – w)||75 5/17|
|Total||64||192 w||192 (1 – w)||256|
Prices of production need to be recalculated for a new numeraire, that being the net output per worker of the standard system. Prices of production are then found to be:
pw = 64/[ 3 (17 + r) ] = 16 (3 w + 1)/[ 3 (12 w + 5) ] pi = 16 (5 + r)/[ 3 (17 + r) ] = 16 (3 w + 2)/[ 3 (12 w + 5) ] w = (3 - r)/[ 3 (1 + r) ] r = 3 (1 - w)/(3 w + 1)
When the rate of profits is zero, the wage is unity. Notice that prices of production are equal to labor values only if the rate of profits is zero. Evaluating inputs and outputs with prices of production yields the following table:
|Sector||Price of Constant Capital||Wages||Profits||Price of Output|
|Wheat||48 (9 w + 4)/(12 w + 5)||144 w||576 (3 w + 1)(1 – w)/(12 w + 5)||768 (3 w + 1)/(12 w + 5)|
|Iron||16 (21 w + 8)/(12 w + 5)||48 w||192 (3 w + 2)(1 – w)/(12 w + 5)||256 (3 w + 2)/(12 w + 5)|
|Total||64||192 w||192 (1 – w)||256|
All Marx’s equalities hold for this modification of the example. Total value equals the total price of the standard commodity. Total surplus value equals total profits. Individual price-value deviations result in the prices of ouput and capital goods varying from labor values in individual sectors. But these differences cancel out for the economy as a whole when the economy is in standard proportions. One can calculate the rate of profit indifferently in labor values, physical quantities, or prices of production.
Of course, one cannot expect an economy to be in “standard proportions.” Can one still say that the total value added in any period is the labor expended in that period, due allowance being taken for variations in skill? The prices of capital goods will differ from their labor values in individual industries. Since the economy is not in standard proportions, the total labor value of capital will not be its price. Nor will the total labor value of output be equal to its price. But the price of outputs in each industry and in the economy as a whole will be the sum of the price of capital goods and labor inputs. Furthermore, although labor contributes total value-added, the workers are not paid the entire net output. Perhaps these observations are enough to justify Marx’s theory of value.
The New Interpretation Applied to This Example. Marx’s equalities can also be justified by the “New Interpretation.” Since the net output per worker was chosen as the numeraire when calculating prices of production, a dollars worth of net output represents, in some sense, one person year. In the technical terminology of the New Interpretation, the Monetary Expression of Value is unity. Notice that the Monetary Expression of Value can be calculated with any set of prices; it need not be found only for prices of production.
The labor value of constant capital was previously calculated as the labor embodied in the means of production. According to the New Interpretation, the labor value of constant capital should rather be calculated as the labor value expressed by the money with which the capitalists purchase the means of production. Likewise, the labor value of variable capital should be calculated as the labor expressed by the money with which the capitalists purchase labor-power, not the labor embodied in the commodities the workers buy with their wages. (The example has already used this method of calculating the labor value of variable capital.) The following table shows labor values calculated under the guidance of the New Interpretation.
|Sector||Constant Capital||Variable Capital||Surplus Value||Value of Output|
|Wheat||2,960 (13 + r)/(255 + r)||592 w||592 (1 – w)||1,184 (160 + 3 r)/(255 + r)|
|Iron||240 (29 + r)/(255 + r)||48 w||48 (1 – w)||96 (200 + 3 r)/(255 + r)|
|Total||640 (71 + 5 r)/(255 + r)||640 w||640 (1 – w)||1,280 (163 + 3 r)/(255 + r)|
The New Interpretation does not provide an alternative approach to calculating prices of production; they are calculated as above. Labor values of individual commodities are found as the sum of the labor value of constant capital, the labor value of variable capital, and surplus value. Since surplus value is generated in proportion to direct labor inputs, the labor values of individual commodities differ from their prices of production. Yet total labor value equals total prices of production, and total surplus value equals total profit. Furthermore, the rate of profit in the terms of labor values is numerically equal to the rate of profit used in calculating prices of production. All of Marx’s equalities are vindicated by this controversial interpretation.
The Temporal Single System approach offers another way of thinking about the arithmetic of the transformation problem. When Marx sets prices equal to values in Volume 1 of Capital, he determines both labor values and prices as the labor embodied in commodities. The transformation in Volume 3 is not a transformation merely of labor values to prices of production. Rather, both labor values and prices are transformed to new quantities in a single system in which capitalists obtain profit in each industry in proportion to the capital advanced. Although contravening a century’s interpretation of Marx, proponents of the Temporal Single System approach argue with style for their reading of Marx.
As noted above, the LTV may be a good approximate theory of prices if the price of capital per worker for vertically integrated industries is closer to the average price of capital per worker than for non-vertically integrated industries. Anwar Shaikh has checked this condition with the 1947 input-output table collected by Wassily Leontief for the United States. This input-output table divides the U.S. economy into 190 sectors. Anwar Shaikh found that the ratio of the standard deviation of the capital-labor ratios to the mean capital-labor ratio (the coefficient of variation) is 1.14. The coefficient of variation for capital-labor ratios of vertically integrated sectors is 0.60. So the desired condition is confirmed. Furthermore, 96% of sectoral variations in the logarithm of relative prices are explained by variations in the logarithm of relative labor values. (Anwar Shaikh provided a theoretical argument for using natural logarithms.)
Anwar Shaikh also tested the ability of the LTV to explain temporal variations in prices. He used Italian input-output tables developed by Graziella Marzi and Paolo Varri for 1959 and 1969. These tables contain 25 sectors. Anwar Shaikh found that 92% of the temporal variation of the logarithm of prices of production is explained by variations in the logarithm of relative labor values.
Paul Cockshott, Allin Cottrel, Ed Ochoa, and Pavle Petrovic are some other economists whose recent empirical results support the LTV. Edward Wolff found empirical evidence against Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profits to fall. He argues, though, that Marx’s theory provides an adequate framework for empirical exploration of such issues. Anwar Shaikh and E. Ahmet Tonak found empirical evidence in favour of Marx’s law. In other empirical work, William Nordhaus used a Smithian labor-commanded standard to measure technological change. Ian Steedman and Judith Tomkins found empirical evidence against the LTV in their sophisticated formulation of the question.
The LTV, as presented in this FAQ, is a mostly 20th century, mostly Anglo-American interpretation of Classical economics and Marx. The most important Classical economists, in this context, are Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Philip Wicksteed and Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk each produced an early and influential critique of Marx from a neoclassical perspective. Paul Sweezy made Bohm-Bawerk’s criticisms available to an English-speaking audience in 1949. From the perspective of this FAQ, Sweezy’s decision to include an essay by Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz was even more important. Von Bortkiewicz laid out the mathematical framework of the transformation problem in terms of dual systems of labor values and prices of production. There were other similar early criticisms of Marx, for example, by V. K. Dmitriev, and even another more general essay by von Bortkiewicz that was not restricted to the specific sectors examined in the essay Sweezy chose to translate. Awareness, however, of this other non-English language literature only came later among Anglo-American economists.
J. Winternitz developed one response to Sweezy’s presentation of the problem. He generalized von Bortkiewicz’s statement of the problem, and showed that restrictions imposed by Marx’s Volume 2 reproduction schemes are irrelevant to the transformation problem. Winterniz and, in response, Kenneth May unnecessarily restricted themselves to three-sector economies. A 1957 essay by Francis Seton further developed the standard dual-system interpretation. Seton presented a general N-commodity model. He showed that in the dual system setting, all of Marx’s “normalization” properties generally do not hold simultaneously. For example, either total surplus value equals total profits, or total values equal total output evaluated in prices of production, but not both. A book by Ronald Meek is a good example of an English defense of Marx of that era.
One of the greatest 20th century mathematicians, Johnny Von Neumann, comes into the story here. He presented a growth model that some economists think is a formalization of Classical theory. Despite the misleading translation of the title, the English-language translation may be superior to the German original in that it is accompanied by David Champernowne’s commentary. The Classical contextualization of the Von Neumann growth model is heavily influenced by Piero Sraffa‘s independently-developed 1960 masterpiece. Prices of production are determined in these models, given physical quantity flows and the wage; labor values are not mentioned. Nobuo Okishio provided another seminal paper of that era. Okishio’s paper, which I have not read, “proved” that Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit is not logically valid. Okishio’s paper is in Japanese, and Japan has long had an established tradition of Marxist economics.
Critiques of Marx produced in the 1970s brought together some strands of this literature. Paul Samuelson presented one such critique from what he termed a Sraffian position. (See also Samuelson’s debate with William J. Baumol and Michio Morishima.) In an angry bit of mathematics, Ian Steedman added the charge of redundancy to the traditional assertion of inconsistency of Marx’s theory. Steedman argued not only that Marx’s normalization conditions are inconsistent in the system of prices of production, but that a materialist theory could be developed using prices of production and no reference to labor values.
Three important recent schools of thought reacted to these findings. G. A. Cohen, Jon Elster, and John Roemer are the most prominent developers of “Analytical Marxism.” Analytical Marxists use the techniques of mainstream economics, particularly General Equilibrium theory, to evaluate Marx. Analytical Marxists provide criticisms of many points of detail, but Jon Elster, at least, seems to find promising Marx’s accounts of technical change, exploitation, and the sociology of knowledge. Gerard Dumenil’s, A. Lipietz’s, and Duncan Foley’s “New Interpretation” of the transformation problem makes it seem much less problematic. The New Interpretation emphasizes the role of money in Marx’s theory of value. Under this interpretation, all of Marx’s normalization conditions hold. Guglielmo Carchedi, Alan Freeman, Andrew Kliman and other developers of the Temporal Single System (TSS) approach also present an interpretation in which Marx’s normalization conditions are logically consistent. The TSS emphasizes the use of dynamic models in interpreting Marx.
At the end of the day, where are we? Neoclassical value theory is incoherent. Prices of production are internally consistent and may be used for a materialist theory of value. It is not clear how important labor values are to such a theory, or whether it can properly be described as a labor theory of value. Marx’s legacy is a matter of contemporary lively debate among some economists. Perhaps other elements of a theory of value are to be found in Chapter 17 of Keynes’ General Theory or in (Old) Institutionalism. Or perhaps the questions addressed by theories of value should be reformulated.
- David R. Andrews, “Nothing is Hidden: A Wittgensteinian Interpretation of Sraffa,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 20, p. 763-777, 1996.
- William J. Baumol, “The Transformation of Values: What Marx ‘Really’ Meant (An Interpretation),” Journal of Economic Literature, Volume 12, Number 1, 1974.
- Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, “Karl Marx and the Close of His System,” in Sweezy (1949)
- Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz, “On the Correction of Marx’s Fundamental Theoretical Construction in the Third Volume of Capital,” in Sweezy (1949)
- W. P. Cockshott and A. F. Cottrell, “Labour Time versus Alternative Value Bases: A Research Note,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 21, Number 4, p. 545, 1997.
- V. K. Dmitriev, “The Theory of Value of David Ricardo,” in Economic Essays on Value, Competition, and Utility, (edited by D. M. Nuti), Cambridge University Press, 1974.
- Jon Elster, Making Sense of Marx, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
- Duncan K. Foley, Understanding Capital: Marx’s Economic Theory, Harvard University Press, 1986.
- Alan Freeman and Guglielmo Carchedi, Marx and Non-Equilibrium Economics, Edward Elgar, 1996.
- Pierangelo Garegnani, “Quantity of Capital,” in The New Palgrave: Capital Theory, edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman, Macmillan, 1990.
- G. C. Harcourt, Some Cambridge Controveries in the Theory of Capital, Cambridge University Press, 1972.
- Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Warren J. Samuels, and Marc R. Tool, The Elgar Companion to Institutional and Evolutionary Economics, Edward Elgar, 1994,
- M. C. Howard and J. E. King, A History of Marxian Economics (two volumes), Princeton University Press, 1992.
- John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1936.
- A. Lipietz, “The So-Called ‘Transformation Problem’ Revisited”, Journal of Economic Theory, V. 26, N. 1, February 1982, p. 59-88.
- Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, 1867.
- Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 2, 1885.
- Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 3, 1894.
- Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Progress Publishers, 1955.
- Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus-Value, Part II, Progress Publishers, 1968.
- Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus-Value, Part III, Progress Publishers, 1971.
- Kenneth May, “Values and Price of Production: A Note on Winternitz Solution” Economic Journal, Volume 58, pp. 596-599, 1948.
- Ronald L. Meek, Studies in the Labour Theory of Value, Lawrence & Wishart, 1956.
- Michio Morishima, Marx’s Economics: A Dual Theory of Value and Growth, Cambridge University Press, 1973.
- John Von Neumann, “A Model of General Economic Equilibrium,” Review of Economic Studies, 1945-1946.
- William D. Nordhaus “Traditional Productivity Estimates are Asleep at the (Technological) Switch,” Economic Journal, V. 107, No. 444, September 1997, pp. 1548-1559.
- Nobuo Okishio, “Technical Changes and the Rate of Profit,” Kobe University Economic Review Volume 7, pp 86-99, 1961.
- Eduardo M. Ochoa, “Values, Prices, and Wage-Profit Curves in the U. S. Economy” Cambridge Journal of Economics, V. 13, No. 3, September 1989, pp. 413-429.
- Terry Peach, Interpreting Ricardo, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
- Pavle Petrovic, “The Deviation of Production Prices from Labour Values: Some Methodology and Empirical Evidence,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, V. 11, No. 3, September 1987, pp. 197-210.
- David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 3rd Edition, 1821.
- John Roemer, Analytical Foundations of Marxian Economic Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1981.
- Paul A. Samuelson, “Understanding the Marxian Notion of Exploitation: A Summary of the So-Called ‘Transformation Problem’ Between Marxian Values and Competitive Prices,” Journal of Economic Literature, Volume 9, Number 2, pp. 399-431, 1971.
- Bertram Schefold, “Classical Theory and Intertemporal Equilibrium,” in Normal Prices, Technical Change and Accumulation, St. Martin’s Press, 1997.
- Francis Seton, “The Transformation Problem,” Review of Economic Studies, Volume 24, pp. 149-160, 1957.
- Anwar Shaikh, “The Transformation from Marx to Sraffa,” in Ricardo, Marx, Sraffa: The Langston Memorial Volume, edited by Ernest Mandel and Alan Freeman, Verso, 1984.
- Anwar Shaikh and E. Ahmet Tonak, Measuring the Wealth of Nations: The Political Economy of National Accounts, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776.
- Piero Sraffa, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities: Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1960.
- Ian Steedman, Marx after Sraffa, NLB, 1977.
- Ian Steedman and Judith Tomkins, “On Measuring the Deviation of Prices from Values,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, V. 22, No. 3, May 1998, pp. 379-386.
- Paul M. Sweezy (editor), Karl Marx and the Close of His System by Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk & Bohm-Bawerk’s Criticism of Marx by Rudolf Hilferding, Together with an Appendix Consisting of an Article by Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz on the Transformation of Values into Prices of Production in the Marxian System, A. M. Kelley, 1949.
- Philip Wicksteed, “The Marxian Theory of Value,” To-Day, October 1884, (Reprinted in The Common Sense of Political Economy).
- J. Winternitz, “Values and Prices: A Solution of the So-Called Transformation Problem,” Economic Journal, Volume 58, pp. 276-280, 1948.
- Edward N. Wolff, “The Rate of Surplus Value, the Organic Composition of Capital, and General Rate of Profits in the U. S. Economy, 1947-1967,” American Economic Review, March 1979, pp. 329-341.
- Robert P. Wolff, Moneybags Must be so Lucky: On the Literary Structure of Capital, University of Massachusetts Press, 1988.
This FAQ was written by Robert Vienneau. This is version 1.2.4 (Last modified April 2004). The FAQ for alt.politics.socialism.trotsky was useful in writing the original version. Participants in various Usenet forums commented on previous versions. I am grateful for comments by Aldo Balardini, Jacques-Phillippe Dupre, Alan Freeman, and E. Ahmet Tonak and to David Andrews for discussion of his paper. It is really necessary to emphasize that usual caveats apply.
Historically the adivasis (tribal) population has been on receiving end from the so-called ‘cultured’ population aided by the ruling class — be it the feudal lords, the English colonialist or now the democratic government.
They are the people who have been demonised, ridiculed and displaced with passing of each year. Today with the onslaught of development, these simple nature loving people are finding themselves amidst a virtual civil war being waged between the Indian Government and the Maoists – who have self-proclaimed themselves as the saviour of adivasis.
Their own leaders have deserted them and have become close ally of the ruling class.
This article written by Stan Swamy analyses the lot of adivasis languishing in prison in Jharkhand; a province created after several decades of heroic resistance by them, where they today are in minority. Other Aspect has severe difference with the politics and stand of Stan Swamy. This article is being posted because of its information value and nowhere it endorses Stan’s stance on several issues.
How long will the 6000 Jharkhandi Adivasis languish in jail?
- Most of the arrests are in violation of SC decisions
- “Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal … Supreme Court on 3rd February 2011 (CRIMINAL APPEAL NOs. 889 OF 2007)
- “Mere possession of Maoist literature does not make a person a Maoist” Supreme Court, while granting bail to Dr. Binayak Sen on 15th April 2011
Context: in Jharkhand, during the past ten years, 550 young men & women were killed by the police & para-military forces as being Naxalites (Hindustan Times, Ranchi edition, 18.4. 2011.)
There are now about 6000 Adivasis in jail (Ajay Sharma in Hindustan, 08.02.2012) . The charge against the majority of them is that “maoist literature” was found in their possession and that they are “helpers of Maoists”
1. Mere possession of Maoist literature is not an offence
Observing that mere possession of maoist literature would not be considered an offence of sedition, the Supreme Court granted bail to Dr.Binayak Sen.
The sad fact in Jharkhand is that in very many cases the police have arrested young men and women precisely because they had some “naxalite literature” in their possession. What exactly constitutes ‘naxalite literature’ has not been defined. The question is: Is any written material that is critical of the Government and its functioning forbidden in our democratic society? Is putting out pamphlets calling on people to resist displacement an offence? Is announcing rallies and public meetings to protest indiscriminate arrests of young people improper? Is calling on people to assert their rights on their jal, jangal, jamin not allowed?
What the police usually do is arrest a person on the alleged reason of having naxal literature and then add on other clauses of the penal code on the hapless victim. Very sad to say, hundreds of young men and women are languishing in the different jails of Jharkhand under this accusation.
It is the urgent need of the hour that an independent commission is appointed to examine all the cases under this accusation and free them.
2. Mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence. (3 February 2011)
The court rejected the doctrine of ‘guilt by association’. Mere membership of a banned organisation will not incriminate a person unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or does an act intended to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence
It is common knowledge that very many young men & women are held in prison on the suspicion of being “helpers of naxalites”. After arresting them other penal clauses are added on. It is an easy label that can be put on any one whom the police want to catch. It does not require any proof or witness. Let us keep in mind that they are not even members of any naxalite outfit. Supreme Court says even membership in a banned organisation does not make a person a criminal. How far removed are the law and order forces from the judiciary!
Even if there is a modicum of humanity left in the govt and the police, these young men and women should be set free.
3. Supreme Court’s directives for arresting persons are ignored by police
The SC has issued very clear directives to the police in the process of arresting a person and has spelt out the rights of the arrestee / prisoner. In a judgment known as ‘D.K.Basu judgment’ passed on 8 March 2005, [D.K.Basu vs. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 216] the SC gives the following guidelines: In view of the increasing incidence of violence and torture in custody, the Supreme Court of India has laid down 11 specific requirements and procedures that the police and other agencies have to follow for the arrest, detention and interrogation of any person. These are: – Police arresting and interrogating suspects should wear “accurate, visible and clear” identification and name tags, and details of interrogating police officers should be recorded in a register. – A memo of arrest must be prepared at the time of arrest. This should: – have the time and date of arrest. – be attested byµ at least one witness who may either be a family member of the person arrested or a respectable person of the locality where the arrest was made.
– be counter-signed by the person arrested. – The person arrested, detained or being interrogated has a right to have a relative, friend or well-wisher informed as soon as practicable, of the arrest and the place of detention or custody. If the person to be informed has signed the arrest memo as a witness this is not required. – Where the friend or relative of the person arrested lives outside the district, the time and place of arrest and venue of custody must be notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest. This should be done by a telegram through the District Legal Aid Authority and the concerned police station. – The person arrested should be told of the right to have someone informed of the arrest, as soon as the arrest or detention is made. – An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention about the arrest, the name of the person informed and the name and particulars of the police officers in whose custody the person arrested is. – The person being arrested can request a physical examination at the time of arrest. Minor and major injuries if any should be recorded. The “Inspection Memo” should be signed by the person arrested as well as the arresting police officer. A copy of this memo must be given to the person arrested. – The person arrested must have a medical examination by a qualified doctor every 48 hours during detention. This should be done by a doctor who is on the panel, which must be constituted by the Director of Health Services of every State. – Copies of all documents including the arrest memo have to be sent to the Area Magistrate (laqa Magistrate) for his record. – The person arrested has a right to meet a lawyer during the interrogation, although not for the whole time. – There should be a police control room in every District and State headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place of custody of the person arrested must be sent by the arresting officer. This must be done within 12 hours of the arrest. The control room should prominently display the information on a notice board. These requirements were issued to the Director General of Police and the Home Secretary of every State. They were obliged to circulate the requirements to every police station under their charge. Every police station in the country had to display these guidelines prominently. The judgment also encouraged that the requirements be broadcast through radio and television and pamphlets in local languages be distributed to spread awareness. Failure to comply with these requirements would make the concerned official liable for departmental action. Not following these directions constitutes a contempt of the Supreme Court, which is a serious offence, punishable by Imprisonment and fine. This contempt of court petition can be filed in any High Court. These requirements are in addition to other rights and rules, such as: – The right to be informed at the time of arrest of the offence for which the person is being arrested. – The right to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. – The right not to be ill-treated or tortured during arrest or in custody. – Confessions made in police custody cannot be used as evidence against the accused.
-A boy under 15 years of age and women cannot be called to the police station only for questioning.
The important question is: under which law or penal code the police & para-military forces are arresting young men & women as part of their anti-naxal operations? It is very clear they are not abiding by the SC ruling. As such they should be sued for contempt of court.
4. ‘To get Bail is a right of the prisoner’. . .but who will bail them out?
Getting bail is not within the reach of most ‘under trial prisoners’. For one thing, the lower courts consistently refuse to grant bails even for the simplest of cases. That means the prisoner has to approach the High Court, and some times the Supreme Court to get bail. The second factor is the expense involved. An average expense at the level of the High Court is between ten to twenty thousand rupees. Now how many Adivasi families can afford this expense is a big question. In fact most of them are not even in a position to come to the jail and meet their dear ones. At the same time, the govt does not reach out to them by providing free legal aid. In short, the 6000 and more Adivasi under trial prisoners are just condemned to languish in jail for years to come. It is important to remember that of those who have been arrested under UAPA and CL-17 as part of Operation Green Hunt, there has not been even a single conviction. We can be sure that when the trial will take place, most of them will be acquitted. Regrettably there is no time limit within which the trial has to take place. Justice delayed is justice denied.
To conclude, it is no use taking this issue to the govt because it is itself doing this injustice. The only other possibilities, in my opinion, are that we make this the agenda of the Jharkhandi People’s Movements and explore ways of making a legal case and access the judiciary at the High Court / Supreme Court level and demand that an independent committee of legal & human rights activists examine all the cases and place their findings in public domain.
A genetically modified strain of maize created by the notorious American company Monsanto has been temporarily banned in France “to protect the environment.” This comes at a time of protests against the biotech giant in its homeland.
A high school student recently confronted me: “I read in your book A People’s History of the United States about the massacres of Indians, the long history of racism, the persistence of poverty in the richest country in the world, the senseless wars. How can I keep from being thoroughly alienated and depressed?”
It’s a question I’ve heard many times before. Another question often put to me by students is: Don’t we need our national idols? You are taking down all our national heroes- the Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy.
Granted, it is good to have historical figures we can admire and emulate. But why hold up as models the fifty-five rich white men who drafted the Constitution as a way of establishing a government that would protect the interests of their class-slaveholders, merchants, bondholders, land speculators?
Why not recall the humanitarianism of William Penn, an early colonist who made peace with the Delaware Indians instead of warring on them, as other colonial leaders were doing?
Why not John Woolman, who, in the years before the Revolution, refused to pay taxes to support the British wars, and who spoke out against slavery?
Why not Captain Daniel Shays, veteran of the Revolutionary War, who led a revolt of poor farmers in Western Massachusetts against the oppressive taxes levied by the rich who controlled the Massachusetts legislature?
Why go along with the hero-worship, so universal in our history textbooks, of Andrew Jackson, the slaveowner, the killer of Indians? Jackson was the architect of the Trail of Tears, which resulted in the deaths of 4,000 of 16,000 Cherokees who were kicked off their land in Georgia and sent into exile in Oklahoma.
Why not replace him as national icon with John Ross, a Cherokee chief who resisted the dispossession of his people, and whose wife died on the Trail of Tears? Or the Seminole leader Osceola, imprisoned and finally killed for leading a guerrilla campaign against the removal of the Indians?
And while we’re at it, should not the Lincoln Memorial be joined by a memorial to Frederick Douglass, who better represented the struggle against slavery? It was that crusade of black and white abolitionists, growing into a great national movement, that pushed a reluctant Lincoln into finally issuing a half-hearted Emancipation Proclamation, and persuaded Congress to pass the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments.
Take another Presidential hero, Theodore Roosevelt, who is always near the top of the tiresome lists of Our Greatest Presidents. There he is on Mount Rushmore, as a permanent reminder of our historical amnesia about his racism, his militarism, his love of war.
Why not replace him as hero-granted, removing him from Mount Rushmore will take some doing- with MarkTwain? Roosevelt, remember, had congratulated an American general who in 1906 ordered the massacre of 600 men, women, and children on a Philippine island. As vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League, Twain denounced this and continued to point out the cruelties committed in the Philippine war under the slogan “My country, right or wrong.”
As for Woodrow Wilson, another honored figure in the pantheon of American liberalism, shouldn’t we remind his admirers that he insisted on racial segregation in federal buildings, that he bombarded the Mexican coast, sent an occupation army into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, brought our country into the hell of World War I, and put anti-war protesters in prison?
And enough worship of John F. Kennedy, a Cold Warrior who began the covert war in Indochina, went along with the planned invasion of Cuba, and was slow to act against racial segregation in the South.
Should we not replace the portraits of our Presidents, which too often take up all the space on our classroom walls, with the likenesses of grassroots heroes like Fannie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi sharecropper? Mrs. Hamer was evicted from her farm and tortured in prison after she joined the civil rights movement, but she became an eloquent voice for freedom. Or with Ella Baker, whose wise counsel and support guided the young black people in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the militant edge of the civil rights movement in the Deep South?
In the year 1992, the quincentennial of the arrival of Columbus in this hemisphere, there were meetings all over the country to celebrate him, but also, for the first time, to challenge the customary exaltation of the Great Discoverer. I was at a symposium in New Jersey where I pointed to the terrible crimes against the indigenous people of Hispaniola committed by Columbus and his fellow Spaniards. Afterward, the other man on the platform, who was chairman of the New Jersey Columbus Day celebration, said to me: “You don’t understand- we Italian Americans need our heroes.” Yes, I understood the desire for heroes, I said, but why choose a murderer and kidnapper for such an honor? Why not choose Joe DiMaggio, or Toscanini, or Fiorello LaGuardia, or Sacco and Vanzetti? (The man was not persuaded.)
The same misguided values that have made slaveholders, Indian-killers, and militarists the heroes of our history books still operate today. We have heard Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, repeatedly referred to as a war hero. Yes, we must sympathize with McCain’s ordeal as a war prisoner in Vietnam, where he endured cruelties. But must we call someone a hero who participated in the invasion of a far-off country and dropped bombs on men, women, and children?
I came across only one voice in the mainstream press daring to dissent from the general admiration for McCain-that of the poet, novelist, and Boston Globe columnist James Carroll. Carroll contrasted the heroism of McCain, the warrior, to that of Philip Berrigan, who has gone to prison dozens of times for protesting the war in Vietnam and the dangerous nuclear arsenal maintained by our government. Carroll wrote: “Berrigan, in jail, is the truly free man, while McCain remains imprisoned in an unexamined sense of martial honor.”
Our country is full of heroic people who are not Presidents or military leaders or Wall Street wizards, but who are doing something to keep alive the spirit of resistance to injustice and war.
I think of Kathy Kelly and all those other people from Voices in the Wilderness who, in defiance of federal law, have traveled to Iraq more than a dozen times to bring food and medicine to people suffering under the U.S.-imposed sanctions.
I think also of the thousands of students on more than 100 college campuses across the country who are protesting their universities’ connection with sweatshop-produced apparel.
I think of the four McDonald sisters in Minneapolis, all nuns, who have gone to jail repeatedly for protesting against the Alliant Corporation’s production of land mines.
I think, too, of the thousands of people who have traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia, to demand the closing of the murderous School of the Americas.
I think of the West Coast Longshoremen who participated in an eight-hour work stoppage to protest the death sentence levied against Mumia Abu-Jamal.
And so many more.
We all know individuals-most of them unsung, unrecognized-who have, often in the most modest ways, spoken out or acted on their beliefs for a more egalitarian, more just, peace-loving society.
To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present.
The Progressive magazine, June 2000
Source From the site thirdworldtraveler.com
By comrade MM
In this paper, an attempt has been made to understand the process of capitalist restoration in Yugoslavia in late 1940’s and early 1950s. Indian Communist comrade Moni Guha in his booklet “Yugoslav Revisionism and the role of the CPSU and CPC’ analysed the modern revisionism which emerged in 1948 under the leadership of Marshal Tito. The Cominform Resolution of June 1948 on Yugoslavia was supported by all the Communist and Workers’ Parties including the communist Party of China. Stalin led the Cominform in this struggle against Titoite revisionism and the 1949 November resolution of Cominform urged the communists of all countries to heighten the struggle. But, after Stalin’s death, instead of fighting against Yugoslav revisionism both CPSU and CPC retreat from their positions and tried their best to contradict the Cominform Resolutions of June 28, 1948 and November 1949
The people of Yugoslavia fought self-sacrificingly against the Nazi-fascist occupiers for freedom, democracy and socialism. They succeeded in liberating their country, both Partisan and Red Army forces fought together and liberated Belgrade on October 20, 1944. The system of people’s democracy, which was established in Yugoslavia, was temporary because they were not allowed to continue the revolution on the road to socialism. The Titoites were not for construction of socialism because Tito was for the capitalist system and for an essentially bourgeois-democratic state. This was the source of conflict that broke out between the Cominform and the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The bourgeois academicians present the ideological conflict between Marxism and revisionism as a conflict between Stalin and Tito for dominance over International Communist Movement. Stalin struggled against the class-collaboration and Liquidationism preached by Marshal Tito reduced Yugoslavia to the status of semi-colony or a dependency.
Comrade Stalin and Yugoslav Revisionism
The resolution of the information Bureau concerning the situation in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia condemned the anti-Marxist views of the leaders of that Party who had been pursuing an incorrect line on various matters of home and foreign policy, the line which represented the complete departure from Marxism-Leninism. After breaking with the Marxism-Leninism, the leaders of Yugoslavia adopted an unfriendly attitude towards the Soviet Union, for instance that ‘the CPSU is degenerated’, ‘great chauvinism is rampant in the USSR’, ‘ the USSR is trying to dominate Yugoslavia economically’ and ‘the Cominform is a means of controlling the other Parties by the CPSU’, etc. Comrade Stalin exposed the mistakes and deviations of the leaders of Communist Party of Yugoslavia. A meeting of Party members in Budapest congratulated the Cominform and CPSU (B) led by comrade Stalin for their revolutionary vigilance and consistency in discovering and exposing the mistakes of Titoites. The grave mistakes of the leaders of Communist Party of Yugoslavia were unanimously condemned not only by Parties belonging to Cominform but also by the Parties of Albania, Great Britain, United States, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Finland and the Labour Progressive Party in Canada.
Departure from Marxism Leninism
It is well known that the question of revolutionary role played by the working class as leader of working people in their struggle for socialism is one of the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism. Is this principle applicable for Yugoslavia because it was predominantly peasant country and the revisionist leadership claimed that Communist should rely on peasant not on the working class? On this question Lenin criticized the Mensheviks for their position on peasantry and their alliance with working class. Throughout Europe and in the countries of People’s democracies including Yugoslavia, it was working class and not the peasantry which was sole and consistently revolutionary force capable of leading working class people, and above all the main mass of peasantry to the victory of Socialism. Marxism-Leninism is based on recognition of the leading role of the working class in abolishing capitalism and building socialist society. Comrade Tito thus not only denied the leading role of the working class but declared that the peasantry as a whole including the kulaks represent the most stable foundation of New Yugoslavia. By refusing to acknowledge the working class as leading element in the people’s democratic state, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia slipped Marxist-Leninist position to that of a Narodnik, kulak Party. They regarded the peasantry as a single entity and failed to see its class structure of poor peasants, medium peasants and kulaks. Comrade Tito failed to understand the basic fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, that is why they consider peasantry as a whole to the chief bulwark in the country-side and had forgotten the struggle against kulaks. It was the denial of growth of capitalist elements in the countryside and denial of sharpening class struggle which is of course negates the Marxism-Leninism and followed the theory of “peaceful growing over” of capitalist elements into socialism propagated by Bukharin.
Communist Party of Yugoslavia adopted an adventurist principle regarding the nationalisation of industry which includes the both medium and small scale, which hampered the supply of goods to population.
According to Marx & Engels, the working class must have its own independent party to achieve political power and transform the society from capitalism to socialism. This concept was developed by Lenin and Stalin regarding its ideological, organisational, tactical principles in course of the struggle but in Yugoslavia, the People’s Front was regarded as the main guiding force not the communist Party. The people’s Front played prominent role during the struggle against Fascism and consolidating all democratic forces of the country. Apart from the Communist Party, the People’s Front was joined by Croat Republican Peasant Party, the bourgeois Republican Party of Serbia, the bourgeois Democratic and Independent Parties and Agrarian Union. The People’s Front was regarded the main guiding force in transition to Socialism, which had its own programme but not the Communist Party. The revisionists leadership of Communist Party of Yugoslavia had forced Party into semi-legal position. The primary Party organisation did not reveal itself openly. The organisational structure of the communist Party is based on the principle of democratic centralism but in Yugoslavia where the Party meetings were not held or at very rare intervals. Its policy were not discussed by members but the decision were taken at the top. Besides that all party organs were not elected but appointed from above.
Capitalism in Yugoslavia
Tito had in fact developed and applied his own theories of socialism in Yugoslavia which reflected the complete departure from Marxism-Leninism. Isolated from her true friends, the titoites started bargaining with British, American and other imperialist at the cost of Yugoslavia’s sovereignty and independence. The government of the United States, Britain and other imperialist countries boycotted trade relations with Soviet Union and New Democracies but it did not include Yugoslavia because Titoites correspondence to the interests of Anglo-American imperialists. The Meeting of Cominform in November 1949 proved the penetration of foreign capital in Yugoslav economy. The American imperialism not only controlled the economic life of Yugoslavia but also established strategic position for an aggressive war against the countries of New Democracies and Soviet Union. On July 19, 1948 the U.S. Government signed a financial agreement with Yugoslavia to free Yugoslav property frozen by U.S and settled the compensation for American property nationalised in Yugoslavia. The Tito government also recognised and promised to pay the old debts of the pre-war Yugoslav Government which totalled 38,500,000 dollars. The Anglo-Yugoslav trade agreement promised to supply Britain with timer and food to sum of 15,000,000GBP. All these agreements were never mentioned by Yugoslav Press but by foreign bourgeois Press. Tito in his speech to Yugoslav Parliament said that the U.S. granted loans without any political conditions but in reality American imperialist grants loan on condition of complete control over her economies and armed forces. It was based on two conditions: firstly, the transfer of Kaminka Mines in the area of the Zinc and lead ore deposits, in the form of concessions to the American trust, Anaconda Copper Mining co.. Secondly the U.S. Government had rights to send “expert advisers” to most important Yugoslav enterprises. The American imperialist used the Titoite Yugoslavia for the raw materials for their economy and markets for manufactured goods.
Comrade Tito had restored the economic and political status of both big national bourgeoisie and foreign capitalist who had been driven from the country as a result of revolutionary struggle of working class of Yugoslavia. The Titoites reversed the revolutionary gains of working people that they returned the nationalised enterprise to their former owners and lands to the kulaks. The housing funds which was under city people’s committee had returned to private owners. All of the most important post in the state apparatus were occupied by the representative of big bourgeoisie and the leaders of numerous bourgeois parties.
Peaceful road to Socialism
The communist Party of Yugoslavia formulated its own concept of people’s democracy which was not identical with the one expounded in the rest of the countries of people’s democracies and the Soviet Union. Titoties rejected Lenin’s concept of imperialism and claimed that the capitalism had entered a new phase of ‘state capitalism’ and consequently the state’s new role was an improvement in the economic position of working class. In late 1949 the communist Party of Yugoslavia maintained the possibilities of non-revolutionary roads to socialism i.e peaceful growing of capitalism into socialism. In a polemic with a leading Swedish social Democrats, one of the spokesman of Communist Party of Yugoslavia mentioned about the possibility of parliamentary methods for peaceful transition to socialism. This doctrine was later formulated by Khrushchev in 20th Party Congress of CPSU.
The Break with Internationalism
The revisionist leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia had taken a hostile attitude towards the Soviet Union and the countries of People’s Democracies. The Yugoslav Communist led by Djilas formulated the critique of Soviet Union which accommodated the formulation made by Trotsky. They turned into bourgeois nationalist and the enemies of working class.
Behind Tito followed Rankovic, who had murdered and tortured to death hundreds of Yugoslav Communists whose only “crime” was that they wanted to march on the path of Marxism-Leninism along with the Soviet Union and countries of People’s Democracy. They arrested the Central Committee members Djuiovic and Hebrang because they opposed anti-Marxist line of Tito. After betraying the cause of Marxism-Leninism, the Titoites had resorted to sheer terror against Yugoslav patriots. They were responsible for murdering Arso Jovanovic, hero of the national liberation movement of Yugoslav people. As a result of the Tito-Fascist coup, the vanguard of the working class was smashed and instead a purely fascist organisation with typically police function was created. The Titoites beheaded the working people, deprived them of leadership, of the right to meetings, of the right to form their own association and of freedom of press. The Tito-Djilas fascist press in Yugoslavia devoted more space regarding the cultural life of America.
Tito and his clique played the special role in the war preparation assigned to them by imperialists. They provoked and disturbed the People’s Democracies by making territorial claims. The counter-revolutionary clique of Rajk, Koci Xoxe and Kostov in the countires of People’s Democracies were backed by Titoite to establish puppet regime but thanks to the Marxist-Leninist leadership of the Hungary, Albania and Bulgaria which exposed these conspiracies by Titoite. The Tito clique also voted in the UNO in favour of U.S. during Korean War and on July 10, 1949 they closed the borders between Yugoslavia and Greece against the Marxist guerrilla.
The restoration of capitalism in Yugoslavia in early 1950s could have been a lesson for other socialist countries to fight the modern revisionism but unfortunately the struggle could not be carried forward due to triumph of Titoism in Soviet Union under Khrushchev. The disintergration of U.S.S.R. and collapse of so-called socialist system is nothing but the collapse of Titoism not Marxism-Leninism, which emerged in these countries in late 1950s. The only exception was the Socialist Albania under the leadership of Comrade Enver Hoxha who fought ruthlessly against Titoism but after his death in 1985 the revisionist Ramiz Alia surrender to Titoism.
 Guha, Moni (1978), Yugoslav revisionism and the role of the CPSU and CPC, Calcutta: The Communist Information Service, pp. 25
 Hoffman, G.W. & Neal, F.W, (1962), Yugoslavia and the New Communism, New York : Twentieth Century Fund, pp 79
 Hoxha, Enver (1979), imperialism and the Revolution, Toronto: Norman Bethune Institute, pp. 52
 Clissold, Stephen (ed.) (1975), Yugoslavia and the soviet Union 1939-1973: A Documentary survey, London: Oxford, pp. 172
 Lautu, I (1948), “ Leadership of Communist Party of Yugoslavia Renounces Marxist-Leninist theory of Class and Class struggle”, For Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy (FLPFPD), 14 (17).
 Ibid, Lautu
 Charpentier, D (1948), “Leaders of Yugoslav Communist Party Revise Marxist-Leninist doctrine of the Party”, FLPFPD, 13(16)
 Ibid, Charpentier
 Pauker, Ana (1948), “The Sectarian, Bureaucratic Regime in the Communist Party of Yugoslavia” FLPFPD 14(17))
 Bulatovic, L. (1948), “Tito Clique-Rabid Enemy of USSR and People’s Democracies, FLPFPD, 5(32)
 Gero. E. (1950), “Penetration of American Capital in Yugoslav Economy, FLPFPD, 7(67)
 Ibid, Bulatovi
 Ibid, Gero
 Popivoda, P. (1952), “Yugoslav Patriots will Crown Struggle Against Tito Gang with Victory”, FLPFPD, 6(170)
 Johnson, A.R. (1972), the Transformation of Communist Ideology:the Yugoslav Case, 1945-1953, Cambridge:The MIT Press, pp. 129
 Ibid, Johnson, pp. 131
 Barnov, L (1948), “ How the Tito Clique Fight Against its Own People”, FLPFPD, 20(23)
 Ibid, Popivoda
 Revai, Joseph (1949), “Tito Clique – Unofficial Supporters of the Atlantic Pact”, FLPFPD, 8(35)
CORPORATE HIMSHA VIRODHI SAMANAWAYA SAMITI, ODISHA
(Coordination Committee Against Corporate Violence in Odisha )
Stop Corporatization, Stop Criminalization, Save Democracy
Save People, Save Resources, Save Civilization, Save Life
Bhubaneshwar, February 22 : Ever since the frontiers of the country were nakedly made open to the global economic and market forces for ruthless exploitation of the rich natural resources and for the launching of an unethical, unreasonable and unjust market with growing potential to expand itself to meet the artificially engineered needs of an expanding middle class, the pillars of democracy started crumbling down. History, which keeps us reminding every now and then that India is a land of unique and ugly social inequalities and which do overlap with economic boundaries quite often, was conveniently ignored. The dominance of market over everything else – social, political and economic was designed without giving any thought to the possibility that the gaps only will widen and the bridge may not be a reality in future history. The 1990s not only marked the rise of big capital and corporate raj, it did also witness the beginning of the death of democracy which could not be revived again without hardships and sacrifices. The 10th year of reforms began with bloody tribute to the corporate raj when three tribals Abhilash, Raghunath and Damodar laid down their lives in the altar of Utkal Alumina led by the Birlas while defending their right to life, livelihood and democracy on 16th December, 2000. Continue reading “Stop Corporatization, Stop Criminalization, Save Democracy Save People, Save Resources, Save Civilization, Save Life:”
In the years of conscious, self-inflicted decline at home, “losses” continued to mount elsewhere. In the past decade, for the first time in 500 years, South America has taken successful steps to free itself from western domination, another serious loss. The region has moved towards integration, and has begun to address some of the terrible internal problems of societies ruled by mostly Europeanized elites, tiny islands of extreme wealth in a sea of misery. They have also rid themselves of all U.S. military bases and of IMF controls. A newly formed organization, CELAC, includes all countries of the hemisphere apart from the U.S. and Canada. If it actually functions, that would be another step in American decline, in this case in what has always been regarded as “the backyard.”
Even more serious would be the loss of the MENA countries — Middle East/North Africa — which have been regarded by planners since the 1940s as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” Control of MENA energy reserves would yield “substantial control of the world,” in the words of the influential Roosevelt advisor A.A. Berle.
To be sure, if the projections of a century of U.S. energy independence based on North American energy resources turn out to be realistic, the significance of controlling MENA would decline somewhat, though probably not by much: the main concern has always been control more than access. However, the likely consequences to the planet’s equilibrium are so ominous that discussion may be largely an academic exercise.
The Arab Spring, another development of historic importance, might portend at least a partial “loss” of MENA. The US and its allies have tried hard to prevent that outcome — so far, with considerable success. Their policy towards the popular uprisings has kept closely to the standard guidelines: support the forces most amenable to U.S. influence and control.
Favored dictators are supported as long as they can maintain control (as in the major oil states). When that is no longer possible, then discard them and try to restore the old regime as fully as possible (as in Tunisia and Egypt). The general pattern is familiar: Somoza, Marcos, Duvalier, Mobutu, Suharto, and many others. In one case, Libya, the three traditional imperial powers intervened by force to participate in a rebellion to overthrow a mercurial and unreliable dictator, opening the way, it is expected, to more efficient control over Libya’s rich resources (oil primarily, but also water, of particular interest to French corporations), to a possible base for the U.S. Africa Command (so far restricted to Germany), and to the reversal of growing Chinese penetration. As far as policy goes, there have been few surprises.
Crucially, it is important to reduce the threat of functioning democracy, in which popular opinion will significantly influence policy. That again is routine, and quite understandable. A look at the studies of public opinion undertaken by U.S. polling agencies in the MENA countries easily explains the western fear of authentic democracy, in which public opinion will significantly influence policy.
Israel and the Republican Party
Similar considerations carry over directly to the second major concern addressed in the issue of Foreign Affairs cited in part one of this piece: the Israel-Palestine conflict. Fear of democracy could hardly be more clearly exhibited than in this case. In January 2006, an election took place in Palestine, pronounced free and fair by international monitors. The instant reaction of the U.S. (and of course Israel), with Europe following along politely, was to impose harsh penalties on Palestinians for voting the wrong way.
That is no innovation. It is quite in accord with the general and unsurprising principle recognized by mainstream scholarship: the U.S. supports democracy if, and only if, the outcomes accord with its strategic and economic objectives, the rueful conclusion of neo-Reaganite Thomas Carothers, the most careful and respected scholarly analyst of “democracy promotion” initiatives.
More broadly, for 35 years the U.S. has led the rejectionist camp on Israel-Palestine, blocking an international consensus calling for a political settlement in terms too well known to require repetition. The western mantra is that Israel seeks negotiations without preconditions, while the Palestinians refuse. The opposite is more accurate. The U.S. and Israel demand strict preconditions, which are, furthermore, designed to ensure that negotiations will lead either to Palestinian capitulation on crucial issues, or nowhere.
The first precondition is that the negotiations must be supervised by Washington, which makes about as much sense as demanding that Iran supervise the negotiation of Sunni-Shia conflicts in Iraq. Serious negotiations would have to be under the auspices of some neutral party, preferably one that commands some international respect, perhaps Brazil. The negotiations would seek to resolve the conflicts between the two antagonists: the U.S.-Israel on one side, most of the world on the other.
The second precondition is that Israel must be free to expand its illegal settlements in the West Bank. Theoretically, the U.S. opposes these actions, but with a very light tap on the wrist, while continuing to provide economic, diplomatic, and military support. When the U.S. does have some limited objections, it very easily bars the actions, as in the case of the E-1 project linking Greater Jerusalem to the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, virtually bisecting the West Bank, a very high priority for Israeli planners (across the spectrum), but raising some objections in Washington, so that Israel has had to resort to devious measures to chip away at the project.
The pretense of opposition reached the level of farce last February when Obama vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy (also adding the uncontroversial observation that the settlements themselves are illegal, quite apart from expansion). Since that time there has been little talk about ending settlement expansion, which continues, with studied provocation.
Thus, as Israeli and Palestinian representatives prepared to meet in Jordan in January 2011, Israel announced new construction in Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, West Bank areas that it has declared to be within the greatly expanded area of Jerusalem, annexed, settled, and constructed as Israel’s capital, all in violation of direct Security Council orders. Other moves carry forward the grander design of separating whatever West Bank enclaves will be left to Palestinian administration from the cultural, commercial, political center of Palestinian life in the former Jerusalem.
It is understandable that Palestinian rights should be marginalized in U.S. policy and discourse. Palestinians have no wealth or power. They offer virtually nothing to U.S. policy concerns; in fact, they have negative value, as a nuisance that stirs up “the Arab street.”
Israel, in contrast, is a valuable ally. It is a rich society with a sophisticated, largely militarized high-tech industry. For decades, it has been a highly valued military and strategic ally, particularly since 1967, when it performed a great service to the U.S. and its Saudi ally by destroying the Nasserite “virus,” establishing the “special relationship” with Washington in the form that has persisted since. It is also a growing center for U.S. high-tech investment. In fact, high tech and particularly military industries in the two countries are closely linked.
Apart from such elementary considerations of great power politics as these, there are cultural factors that should not be ignored. Christian Zionism in Britain and the U.S. long preceded Jewish Zionism, and has been a significant elite phenomenon with clear policy implications (including the Balfour Declaration, which drew from it). When General Allenby conquered Jerusalem during World War I, he was hailed in the American press as Richard the Lion-Hearted, who had at last won the Crusades and driven the pagans out of the Holy Land.
The next step was for the Chosen People to return to the land promised to them by the Lord. Articulating a common elite view, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes described Jewish colonization of Palestine as an achievement “without comparison in the history of the human race.” Such attitudes find their place easily within the Providentialist doctrines that have been a strong element in popular and elite culture since the country’s origins: the belief that God has a plan for the world and the U.S. is carrying it forward under divine guidance, as articulated by a long list of leading figures.
Moreover, evangelical Christianity is a major popular force in the U.S. Further toward the extremes, End Times evangelical Christianity also has enormous popular outreach, invigorated by the establishment of Israel in 1948, revitalized even more by the conquest of the rest of Palestine in 1967 — all signs that End Times and the Second Coming are approaching.
These forces have become particularly significant since the Reagan years, as the Republicans have abandoned the pretense of being a political party in the traditional sense, while devoting themselves in virtual lockstep uniformity to servicing a tiny percentage of the super-rich and the corporate sector. However, the small constituency that is primarily served by the reconstructed party cannot provide votes, so they have to turn elsewhere.
The only choice is to mobilize tendencies that have always been present, though rarely as an organized political force: primarily nativists trembling in fear and hatred, and religious elements that are extremists by international standards but not in the U.S. One outcome is reverence for alleged Biblical prophecies, hence not only support for Israel and its conquests and expansion, but passionate love for Israel, another core part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates — with Democrats, again, not too far behind.
These factors aside, it should not be forgotten that the “Anglosphere” — Britain and its offshoots — consists of settler-colonial societies, which rose on the ashes of indigenous populations, suppressed or virtually exterminated. Past practices must have been basically correct, in the U.S. case even ordained by Divine Providence. Accordingly there is often an intuitive sympathy for the children of Israel when they follow a similar course. But primarily, geostrategic and economic interests prevail, and policy is not graven in stone.
The Iranian “Threat” and the Nuclear Issue
Let us turn finally to the third of the leading issues addressed in the establishment journals cited earlier, the “threat of Iran.” Among elites and the political class this is generally taken to be the primary threat to world order — though not among populations. In Europe, polls show that Israel is regarded as the leading threat to peace. In the MENA countries, that status is shared with the U.S., to the extent that in Egypt, on the eve of the Tahrir Square uprising, 80% felt that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons. The same polls found that only 10% regard Iran as a threat — unlike the ruling dictators, who have their own concerns.
In the United States, before the massive propaganda campaigns of the past few years, a majority of the population agreed with most of the world that, as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to carry out uranium enrichment. And even today, a large majority favors peaceful means for dealing with Iran. There is even strong opposition to military engagement if Iran and Israel are at war. Only a quarter regard Iran as an important concern for the U.S. altogether. But it is not unusual for there to be a gap, often a chasm, dividing public opinion and policy.
Why exactly is Iran regarded as such a colossal threat? The question is rarely discussed, but it is not hard to find a serious answer — though not, as usual, in the fevered pronouncements. The most authoritative answer is provided by the Pentagon and the intelligence services in their regular reports to Congress on global security. They report that Iran does not pose a military threat. Its military spending is very low even by the standards of the region, minuscule of course in comparison with the U.S.
Iran has little capacity to deploy force. Its strategic doctrines are defensive, designed to deter invasion long enough for diplomacy to set it. If Iran is developing nuclear weapons capability, they report, that would be part of its deterrence strategy. No serious analyst believes that the ruling clerics are eager to see their country and possessions vaporized, the immediate consequence of their coming even close to initiating a nuclear war. And it is hardly necessary to spell out the reasons why any Iranian leadership would be concerned with deterrence, under existing circumstances.
The regime is doubtless a serious threat to much of its own population — and regrettably, is hardly unique on that score. But the primary threat to the U.S. and Israel is that Iran might deter their free exercise of violence. A further threat is that the Iranians clearly seek to extend their influence to neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, and beyond as well. Those “illegitimate” acts are called “destabilizing” (or worse). In contrast, forceful imposition of U.S. influence halfway around the world contributes to “stability” and order, in accord with traditional doctrine about who owns the world.
It makes very good sense to try to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear weapons states, including the three that have refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty — Israel, India, and Pakistan, all of which have been assisted in developing nuclear weapons by the U.S., and are still being assisted by them. It is not impossible to approach that goal by peaceful diplomatic means. One approach, which enjoys overwhelming international support, is to undertake meaningful steps towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, including Iran and Israel (and applying as well to U.S. forces deployed there), better still extending to South Asia.
Support for such efforts is so strong that the Obama administration has been compelled to formally agree, but with reservations: crucially, that Israel’s nuclear program must not be placed under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Association, and that no state (meaning the U.S.) should be required to release information about “Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.” Obama also accepts Israel’s position that any such proposal must be conditional on a comprehensive peace settlement, which the U.S. and Israel can continue to delay indefinitely.
This survey comes nowhere near being exhaustive, needless to say. Among major topics not addressed is the shift of U.S. military policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, with new additions to the huge military base system underway right now, in Jeju Island off South Korea and Northwest Australia, all elements of the policy of “containment of China.” Closely related is the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa, bitterly opposed by the population for many years, and a continual crisis in U.S.-Tokyo-Okinawa relations.
Revealing how little fundamental assumptions have changed, U.S. strategic analysts describe the result of China’s military programs as a “classic ‘security dilemma,’ whereby military programs and national strategies deemed defensive by their planners are viewed as threatening by the other side,” writes Paul Godwin of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. The security dilemma arises over control of the seas off China’s coasts. The U.S. regards its policies of controlling these waters as “defensive,” while China regards them as threatening; correspondingly, China regards its actions in nearby areas as “defensive” while the U.S. regards them as threatening. No such debate is even imaginable concerning U.S. coastal waters. This “classic security dilemma” makes sense, again, on the assumption that the U.S. has a right to control most of the world, and that U.S. security requires something approaching absolute global control.
While the principles of imperial domination have undergone little change, the capacity to implement them has markedly declined as power has become more broadly distributed in a diversifying world. Consequences are many. It is, however, very important to bear in mind that — unfortunately — none lifts the two dark clouds that hover over all consideration of global order: nuclear war and environmental catastrophe, both literally threatening the decent survival of the species.
Quite the contrary. Both threats are ominous, and increasing.
At the moment, we are failing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s decision to launch the most destructive and murderous act of aggression of the post-World War II period: the invasion of South Vietnam, later all of Indochina, leaving millions dead and four countries devastated, with casualties still mounting from the long-term effects of drenching South Vietnam with some of the most lethal carcinogens known, undertaken to destroy ground cover and food crops.
The prime target was South Vietnam. The aggression later spread to the North, then to the remote peasant society of northern Laos, and finally to rural Cambodia, which was bombed at the stunning level of all allied air operations in the Pacific region during World War II, including the two atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this, Henry Kissinger’s orders were being carried out — “anything that flies on anything that moves” — a call for genocide that is rare in the historical record. Little of this is remembered. Most was scarcely known beyond narrow circles of activists.
When the invasion was launched 50 years ago, concern was so slight that there were few efforts at justification, hardly more than the president’s impassioned plea that “we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence” and if the conspiracy achieves its ends in Laos and Vietnam, “the gates will be opened wide.”
Elsewhere, he warned further that “the complacent, the self-indulgent, the soft societies are about to be swept away with the debris of history [and] only the strong… can possibly survive,” in this case reflecting on the failure of U.S. aggression and terror to crush Cuban independence.
By the time protest began to mount half a dozen years later, the respected Vietnam specialist and military historian Bernard Fall, no dove, forecast that “Vietnam as a cultural and historic entity… is threatened with extinction…[as]…the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size.” He was again referring to South Vietnam.
When the war ended eight horrendous years later, mainstream opinion was divided between those who described the war as a “noble cause” that could have been won with more dedication, and at the opposite extreme, the critics, to whom it was “a mistake” that proved too costly. By 1977, President Carter aroused little notice when he explained that we owe Vietnam “no debt” because “the destruction was mutual.”
There are important lessons in all this for today, even apart from another reminder that only the weak and defeated are called to account for their crimes. One lesson is that to understand what is happening we should attend not only to critical events of the real world, often dismissed from history, but also to what leaders and elite opinion believe, however tinged with fantasy. Another lesson is that alongside the flights of fancy concocted to terrify and mobilize the public (and perhaps believed by some who are trapped in their own rhetoric), there is also geostrategic planning based on principles that are rational and stable over long periods because they are rooted in stable institutions and their concerns. That is true in the case of Vietnam as well. I will return to that, only stressing here that the persistent factors in state action are generally well concealed.
The Iraq war is an instructive case. It was marketed to a terrified public on the usual grounds of self-defense against an awesome threat to survival: the “single question,” George W. Bush and Tony Blair declared, was whether Saddam Hussein would end his programs of developing weapons of mass destruction. When the single question received the wrong answer, government rhetoric shifted effortlessly to our “yearning for democracy,” and educated opinion duly followed course; all routine.
Later, as the scale of the U.S. defeat in Iraq was becoming difficult to suppress, the government quietly conceded what had been clear all along. In 2007-2008, the administration officially announced that a final settlement must grant the U.S. military bases and the right of combat operations, and must privilege U.S. investors in the rich energy system — demands later reluctantly abandoned in the face of Iraqi resistance. And all well kept from the general population.
Gauging American Decline
With such lessons in mind, it is useful to look at what is highlighted in the major journals of policy and opinion today. Let us keep to the most prestigious of the establishment journals, Foreign Affairs. The headline blaring on the cover of the December 2011 issue reads in bold face: “Is America Over?”
The title article calls for “retrenchment” in the “humanitarian missions” abroad that are consuming the country’s wealth, so as to arrest the American decline that is a major theme of international affairs discourse, usually accompanied by the corollary that power is shifting to the East, to China and (maybe) India.
The lead articles are on Israel-Palestine. The first, by two high Israeli officials, is entitled “The Problem is Palestinian Rejection”: the conflict cannot be resolved because Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state — thereby conforming to standard diplomatic practice: states are recognized, but not privileged sectors within them. The demand is hardly more than a new device to deter the threat of political settlement that would undermine Israel’s expansionist goals.
The opposing position, defended by an American professor, is entitled “The Problem Is the Occupation.” The subtitle reads “How the Occupation is Destroying the Nation.” Which nation? Israel, of course. The paired articles appear under the heading “Israel under Siege.”
The January 2012 issue features yet another call to bomb Iran now, before it is too late. Warning of “the dangers of deterrence,” the author suggests that “skeptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond. And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease — that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions. But that is a faulty assumption. The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.”
Others argue that the costs would be too high, and at the extremes some even point out that an attack would violate international law — as does the stand of the moderates, who regularly deliver threats of violence, in violation of the U.N. Charter.
American decline is real, though the apocalyptic vision reflects the familiar ruling class perception that anything short of total control amounts to total disaster. Despite the piteous laments, the U.S. remains the world dominant power by a large margin, and no competitor is in sight, not only in the military dimension, in which of course the U.S. reigns supreme.
China and India have recorded rapid (though highly inegalitarian) growth, but remain very poor countries, with enormous internal problems not faced by the West. China is the world’s major manufacturing center, but largely as an assembly plant for the advanced industrial powers on its periphery and for western multinationals. That is likely to change over time. Manufacturing regularly provides the basis for innovation, often breakthroughs, as is now sometimes happening in China. One example that has impressed western specialists is China’s takeover of the growing global solar panel market, not on the basis of cheap labor but by coordinated planning and, increasingly, innovation.
But the problems China faces are serious. Some are demographic, reviewed inScience, the leading U.S. science weekly. The study shows that mortality sharply decreased in China during the Maoist years, “mainly a result of economic development and improvements in education and health services, especially the public hygiene movement that resulted in a sharp drop in mortality from infectious diseases.” This progress ended with the initiation of the capitalist reforms 30 years ago, and the death rate has since increased.
Furthermore, China’s recent economic growth has relied substantially on a “demographic bonus,” a very large working-age population. “But the window for harvesting this bonus may close soon,” with a “profound impact on development”: “Excess cheap labor supply, which is one of the major factors driving China’s economic miracle, will no longer be available.”
Demography is only one of many serious problems ahead. For India, the problems are far more severe.
Not all prominent voices foresee American decline. Among international media, there is none more serious and responsible than the London Financial Times. It recently devoted a full page to the optimistic expectation that new technology for extracting North American fossil fuels might allow the U.S. to become energy independent, hence to retain its global hegemony for a century. There is no mention of the kind of world the U.S. would rule in this happy event, but not for lack of evidence.
At about the same time, the International Energy Agency reported that, with rapidly increasing carbon emissions from fossil fuel use, the limit of safety will be reached by 2017 if the world continues on its present course. “The door is closing,” the IEA chief economist said, and very soon it “will be closed forever.”
Shortly before the U.S. Department of Energy reported the most recent carbon dioxide emissions figures, which “jumped by the biggest amount on record” to a level higher than the worst-case scenario anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That came as no surprise to many scientists, including the MIT program on climate change, which for years has warned that the IPCC predictions are too conservative.
Such critics of the IPCC predictions receive virtually no public attention, unlike the fringe of denialists who are supported by the corporate sector, along with huge propaganda campaigns that have driven Americans off the international spectrum in dismissal of the threats. Business support also translates directly to political power. Denialism is part of the catechism that must be intoned by Republican candidates in the farcical election campaign now in progress, and in Congress they are powerful enough to abort even efforts to inquire into the effects of global warming, let alone do anything serious about it.
In brief, American decline can perhaps be stemmed if we abandon hope for decent survival, prospects that are all too real given the balance of forces in the world.
“Losing” China and Vietnam
Putting such unpleasant thoughts aside, a close look at American decline shows that China indeed plays a large role, as it has for 60 years. The decline that now elicits such concern is not a recent phenomenon. It traces back to the end of World War II, when the U.S. had half the world’s wealth and incomparable security and global reach. Planners were naturally well aware of the enormous disparity of power, and intended to keep it that way.
The basic viewpoint was outlined with admirable frankness in a major state paper of 1948 (PPS 23). The author was one of the architects of the New World Order of the day, the chair of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, the respected statesman and scholar George Kennan, a moderate dove within the planning spectrum. He observed that the central policy goal was to maintain the “position of disparity” that separated our enormous wealth from the poverty of others. To achieve that goal, he advised, “We should cease to talk about vague and… unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization,” and must “deal in straight power concepts,” not “hampered by idealistic slogans” about “altruism and world-benefaction.”
Kennan was referring specifically to Asia, but the observations generalize, with exceptions, for participants in the U.S.-run global system. It was well understood that the “idealistic slogans” were to be displayed prominently when addressing others, including the intellectual classes, who were expected to promulgate them.
The plans that Kennan helped formulate and implement took for granted that the U.S. would control the Western Hemisphere, the Far East, the former British empire (including the incomparable energy resources of the Middle East), and as much of Eurasia as possible, crucially its commercial and industrial centers. These were not unrealistic objectives, given the distribution of power. But decline set in at once.
In 1949, China declared independence, an event known in Western discourse as “the loss of China” — in the U.S., with bitter recriminations and conflict over who was responsible for that loss. The terminology is revealing. It is only possible to lose something that one owns. The tacit assumption was that the U.S. owned China, by right, along with most of the rest of the world, much as postwar planners assumed.
The “loss of China” was the first major step in “America’s decline.” It had major policy consequences. One was the immediate decision to support France’s effort to reconquer its former colony of Indochina, so that it, too, would not be “lost.”
Indochina itself was not a major concern, despite claims about its rich resources by President Eisenhower and others. Rather, the concern was the “domino theory,” which is often ridiculed when dominoes don’t fall, but remains a leading principle of policy because it is quite rational. To adopt Henry Kissinger’s version, a region that falls out of control can become a “virus” that will “spread contagion,” inducing others to follow the same path.
In the case of Vietnam, the concern was that the virus of independent development might infect Indonesia, which really does have rich resources. And that might lead Japan — the “superdomino” as it was called by the prominent Asia historian John Dower — to “accommodate” to an independent Asia as its technological and industrial center in a system that would escape the reach of U.S. power. That would mean, in effect, that the U.S. had lost the Pacific phase of World War II, fought to prevent Japan’s attempt to establish such a New Order in Asia.
The way to deal with such a problem is clear: destroy the virus and “inoculate” those who might be infected. In the Vietnam case, the rational choice was to destroy any hope of successful independent development and to impose brutal dictatorships in the surrounding regions. Those tasks were successfully carried out — though history has its own cunning, and something similar to what was feared has since been developing in East Asia, much to Washington’s dismay.
The most important victory of the Indochina wars was in 1965, when a U.S.-backed military coup in Indonesia led by General Suharto carried out massive crimes that were compared by the CIA to those of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The “staggering mass slaughter,” as the New York Times described it, was reported accurately across the mainstream, and with unrestrained euphoria.
It was “a gleam of light in Asia,” as the noted liberal commentator James Reston wrote in the Times. The coup ended the threat of democracy by demolishing the mass-based political party of the poor, established a dictatorship that went on to compile one of the worst human rights records in the world, and threw the riches of the country open to western investors. Small wonder that, after many other horrors, including the near-genocidal invasion of East Timor, Suharto was welcomed by the Clinton administration in 1995 as “our kind of guy.”
Years after the great events of 1965, Kennedy-Johnson National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy reflected that it would have been wise to end the Vietnam war at that time, with the “virus” virtually destroyed and the primary domino solidly in place, buttressed by other U.S.-backed dictatorships throughout the region.
Similar procedures have been routinely followed elsewhere. Kissinger was referring specifically to the threat of socialist democracy in Chile. That threat was ended on another forgotten date, what Latin Americans call “the first 9/11,” which in violence and bitter effects far exceeded the 9/11 commemorated in the West. A vicious dictatorship was imposed in Chile, one part of a plague of brutal repression that spread through Latin America, reaching Central America under Reagan. Viruses have aroused deep concern elsewhere as well, including the Middle East, where the threat of secular nationalism has often concerned British and U.S. planners, inducing them to support radical Islamic fundamentalism to counter it.
The Concentration of Wealth and American Decline
Despite such victories, American decline continued. By 1970, U.S. share of world wealth had dropped to about 25%, roughly where it remains, still colossal but far below the end of World War II. By then, the industrial world was “tripolar”: US-based North America, German-based Europe, and East Asia, already the most dynamic industrial region, at the time Japan-based, but by now including the former Japanese colonies Taiwan and South Korea, and more recently China.
At about that time, American decline entered a new phase: conscious self-inflicted decline. From the 1970s, there has been a significant change in the U.S. economy, as planners, private and state, shifted it toward financialization and the offshoring of production, driven in part by the declining rate of profit in domestic manufacturing. These decisions initiated a vicious cycle in which wealth became highly concentrated (dramatically so in the top 0.1% of the population), yielding concentration of political power, hence legislation to carry the cycle further: taxation and other fiscal policies, deregulation, changes in the rules of corporate governance allowing huge gains for executives, and so on.
Meanwhile, for the majority, real wages largely stagnated, and people were able to get by only by sharply increased workloads (far beyond Europe), unsustainable debt, and repeated bubbles since the Reagan years, creating paper wealth that inevitably disappeared when they burst (and the perpetrators were bailed out by the taxpayer). In parallel, the political system has been increasingly shredded as both parties are driven deeper into corporate pockets with the escalating cost of elections, the Republicans to the level of farce, the Democrats (now largely the former “moderate Republicans”) not far behind.
A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, which has been the major source of reputable data on these developments for years, is entitled Failure by Design. The phrase “by design” is accurate. Other choices were certainly possible. And as the study points out, the “failure” is class-based. There is no failure for the designers. Far from it. Rather, the policies are a failure for the large majority, the 99% in the imagery of the Occupy movements — and for the country, which has declined and will continue to do so under these policies.
One factor is the offshoring of manufacturing. As the solar panel example mentioned earlier illustrates, manufacturing capacity provides the basis and stimulus for innovation leading to higher stages of sophistication in production, design, and invention. That, too, is being outsourced, not a problem for the “money mandarins” who increasingly design policy, but a serious problem for working people and the middle classes, and a real disaster for the most oppressed, African Americans, who have never escaped the legacy of slavery and its ugly aftermath, and whose meager wealth virtually disappeared after the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008, setting off the most recent financial crisis, the worst so far.
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works.
[Note: Part 2 of Noam Chomsky’s discussion of American decline, “The Imperial Way,” .]
Statement by the Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan):
On Monday January 23, 2012, the foreign ministers of the imperialist European Union countries decided in Brussels to extend the economic sanctions on Iran by putting sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and by freezing the assets of the Iranian people in Europe. In order to inflict a heavy damage on the economy of Iran, they decided to place an embargo on the export of Iranian oil to Europe.
To impose economic blockades on and to cause hunger in Iran are acts that are internationally illegal and are crimes against humanity. Imperialists want to impose their sinister, plundering, and domineering intentions on Iran and on their “axis of evils” by creating another Iraq and a second Gaza Strip. By punishing Iran, the imperialist countries want to teach a lesson to Non-Allied countries and to those who do not submit to their dictates.
In the past, the imperialists tried to justify their crimes by passing illegal resolutions in the UN Security Council. But they imposed sanctions against Iran today without any UN authorization. The sanctions are plots by a gang of international plunderers against a UN-member state and are against the UN Charter. The US and EU sanctions against Iran lack any legal basis in the international arena. The US imposes on countries of the world the decisions made in the US Congress and pretends that the decisions are made by the international community. The illegal and bullying actions against Iran show the hegemonic and despotic nature of US imperialism.
While the foreign minister of Russia, Sergei Lawrow, stated that the “unilateral actions are useless”, he added that there was no reason to make any decision in addition to collective decision by the UN Security Council. The deputy foreign minister of the racist government of Israel, Danny Ajalon, claimed in a press interview that “These sanctions have reduced the threat of war”. Coming out of the meeting that made warmongering and threatening decisions on Iran, Ms. Catherine Ashton who is in charge of the EU international relations and the foreign minister of Sweden Mr. Carl Bidlt claimed that the basis of their work was to appeal to diplomacy and negotiation!
The imperialist powers clearly lie when they claim that they recognize the legal and indisputable right of Iran to enrich uranium. The fact is that they have monopoly in producing nuclear energy. The recognition of Iran’s right to produce nuclear energy is to break the imperialist monopoly. In a deceptive psychological war, the major powers warn the world about Iran’s nuclear bomb, but they have not disclosed any document to show the existence of this bomb. German foreign minister Guido Weserwelle shamelessly said that “We cannot accept Iran developing nuclear weapons” and that “This is not a security problem for the region only but it will disrupt the world security”. Wow! The non-existent Iranian nuclear bomb disrupts the security of the entire globe but many hundred known or secret warheads in the hands of American, British, French, and Israeli warmongers are nor dangerous for the world security! Apparently, there are good and bad atomic bombs! The arguments given by the representatives of the imperialist powers are fierce, threatening, and sickening.
The history of economic sanctions shows that the ordinary people of the countries on which the sanctions were imposed suffered the most by the sanctions. In Iran, the inflation is rapidly rising, shortage of medicine and medical equipment is already felt, and particularly patients with heart problems are under attack because the companies making the equipments are under the US sanctions and cannot export their products to Iran. This is not a concern for the imperialist powers. It is not important to US President Obama and his Iranian allies if millions of people are slaughtered in the war. Also, the sanctions on Iran give an excuse to the authority of the Islamic Republic to increase the suppression of the anti-imperialist and democratic forces in Iran.
The imperialist powers think that if their sanctions cause widespread hunger in Iran, then the people will rise up and install a Western puppet regime. This is a miscalculation because the history of the Iran shows that Iranian people have always rejected submission to any forces allied to foreign imperialist powers. The Iranian masses have no feeling except disgust and hate towards sellouts, spies, and those who carry out terrorist operations in Iran.
The fact is that the imperialists’ actions against Iran are not for eliminating the Iranian nuclear bomb. Such a bomb does exist. Iran holds a key geo-political position in the Middle East region and is the center of entangled world contradictions. To control Iran is to control an entire strategic region with enormous energy resources that the US has desired to plunder for decades. The Strait of Hormuz is a valve for export of oil to the four corners of the globe. The US imperialists wish to have control over this oil valve. The presence of the US forces in the region is a danger for the world security and is a threat particularly to the security of the Middle East. The propaganda about Iranian atomic bomb, the bomb that does not exist, is justification for aggression on Iran and for domination of the region, and Islamic Republic’s capitulation to imperialists’ demands will not change the imperialists’ nature of following their domineering goals.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) believes that the economic sanctions on Iran act against the masses and are inhumane. We take the imperialists, particularly the US imperialists, responsible for the suffering and misery these sanctions will cause. The sanctions on Iran are illegal, warmongering, and unjustifiable. Our Party strongly condemns the imperialist sanctions, embargoes, and threats against the Iranian masses. We believe that every progressive, human-loving, and patriotic Iranian must take a stand against the sanctions and against the imperialist-Zionist warmongering threats, and must draw a sharp line to separate enemies from the people.
The regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a reactionary and Mafia-style capitalist regime. The regime of Iran has lost all its legitimacy, and the overwhelming majority of the Iranian masses are disgusted by the regime. The task of overthrowing this criminal regime is on the shoulders of the Iranian masses. The regime change by the imperialist invading forces will be for the purpose of colonizing the country and looting the resources of the nation. The imperialist powers have never supported and will never support the freedom-loving and democratic forces anywhere in the world. Their talks about freedom and human rights are nothing but smokescreens for their criminal actions, and Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan … are testimonies to this. Hypocrisy is written on their foreheads.
The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan)
January 23, 2012
This 1927 Soviet classic commemorates the tenth anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution, End of St. Petersburg was the second feature-length effort of director V. I. Pudovkin.
The film details the fall of St. Petersburg into the hands of the Bolsheviks during the revolution.
Cast: Vera Baranovskaya, Aleksandr Chistyakov, Ivan Chuvelyov
Director: Vsevolod Pudovkin,
Year of release: 1927
Length: 80 min
View the entire movie
In this article Boris Dolgov, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, reports on his recent trip to Syria. His field investigation is particularly valuable since most of the information about Syria in recent months has emanated from Beirut, Paris or London. Continue reading “What Is Really Going On In Syria: Insider Update”
By Mark Twain
Boston: The P. R. Warren Co., 1905.
Notes on the “Marxian Trunk” and Primarily, on the Marxian Root of Our Party
Moissaye J. Olgin
It is easy to confess Marxism. But Marxism is not a confession of faith. Marxism is even more than a set of doctrines. Marxism is the only scientific method of investigating social matters. To be a Marxist means, not only to have read “Das Kapital” and a few other books, but to be able to apply the Marxian analysis to living and therefore continually changing social conditions. He who knows how to apply this analysis correctly, and whose correctness of analysis has been proven by subsequent events, is a true Marxist. He who only mimicks the methods of Marxism, he whose conclusions are being repudiated by the course of events, is a pseudo-Marxist.
This little essay wishes to suggest that the leader of the minority, John Pepper, is a pseudo-Marxist.
We have chosen John Pepper because it an open secret that he is still the moving spirit of the minority group. If the minority calls itself the Marxian trunk, then John Pepper is certainly the main Marxism root. If the root is hollow, then there is something the matter with the trunk.
How did John Pepper apply the Marxism analysis to conditions in the United States? It must be remarked that the application of Marxism to history in the making, is Leninism. “If we wish, comrades, to define what is Leninism,” said N.K. Kroupskaya, the widow of the late Lenin, in an address before the teachers of Leninism mobilized to instruct the “Lenin Enrollment,” “we must say that it is Marxism applied to contemporary realities.” How, then, did John Popper practice Leninism in this country?
Let us take only one or two instances. At the Chicago convention of July 3-5, 1923, the federated farmer-labor party was proclaimed as existing. Was it a real party? Did it have a solid foundation? Was it a logical outcome of ripening conditions among the working masses?
Subsequent events have proven that it had no solid foundation, that it was an artificial contrivance. A year after July 3-5, the F.F.L.P. was thoroly forgotten. Six months after its coming into nominal being, it was hardly more than a name and a wish. This proves beyond dispute that it was a still born organization. What was the duty of a Marxist after the formation of that so-called party? Plainly, it was incumbent upon him to give an adequate estimation of what had happened to analyze the forces that were operating around the party, to have a realistic understanding of the new organization, and thus to indicate a correct attitude for the Workers (Communist) Party.
Did John Pepper make such an analysis? True, he used, all the phraseology of Marxism. But this is what he found:
“Summed up in a single phrase, the historic significance of the July 3 convention is this: The first real mass party of American workers and farmers has been founded in Chicago.”
“The new F.F.L.P. is a mass party. It is the first mass party of workers and farmers in the United States.”
“The new F.F.L.P. is no artificial product of a mass doctrine, but is the result d a special American development.”
“It is a party of rank and file.”
This is how John Pepper estimated the new organization. That his estimation was entirely erroneous, entirely subjective, i.e. entirely nonMarxian, is evident from the total disappearance of the F.F.L.P., from its non-existing at the present time. A “real party,” a “mass party,” a “result of a special American development,” a “party of rank and file” does not disappear within six months. Plainly, John Pepper gave an expression of his ardent wish, not of the actualities of American political life. Plainly he did something entirely opposed to Marxism.
But maybe he only made propaganda among the members of the Workers Party? Maybe he personally knew the truth about the F.F.L.P. Maybe he wrote as he did only to fire the imagination of the Communists in this country in order that they might devote themselves the more diligently to the building of the new party? If this were the case, it would be worse than the grossest error of estimation, because nothing is more injurious to the cause of Communism than misleading the workers as to the character of the organization they have to deal with.
However, it appears that John Pepper actually believed the F.F.L.P. be “a real mass party of American workers and farmers.” This evident from the fact that he broadcasted his findings all over the C.I. thru the medium of the International Press Correspondence (Inprecor, July 26, 1923, article by John Pepper. “The First Party of American Workers and Farmers,”) Pepper thus proved that he either failed to understand America, or he failed to understand what is a real mass party. At any rate he proved to be less of a Marxist and more of the type that Lenin admonished in the following words:
“Less political clatter. Less intellectual reasoning. Nearer to life.” (Article “On the Character of our Papers.”)
John Pepper not only made the mistake of heralding the lifeless organization as the mass party of American workers and farmers, but persisted in his mistake. For months in succession, even as late as March, 1924, when the F.F.L.P. was no more than a shadow, he continued to view the future leadership of the Workers Party in the class struggle as based on the non-existent F.F. L.P. So strong is the influence John Pepper’s mistakes on the present minority of our C. E. C., that its latest thesis still invokes the ghost of the F.F.L.P. and it still asserts that the Workers Party could have made the F.F.L.P. a living thing if it wished to do so. Strange conception for Marxists. A small party, numbering a score of thousand members could have created a greater party numbering at least hundreds of thousands! And vice versa: A mass party, “a real mass party of workers and farmers,” springing from “special American development,” ceased to exist because a small party, avowedly not a mass party, failed to send out a few organizers and speakers to help it. If this be a Marxian conception, what, then, is the voluntaristic conception which was fought against by Marx-Lenin, and how far is it from the theory of “heroes and masses?”
But let us return to John Popper, John Pepper knew very well that it is the duty of the Communists to lead the workers. He knew it as a doctrine. He also realized that it is necessary for the American Communists to lead the American workers. Out of this theoretical realization sprang his conviction that the Workers Party is already leading the working masses. In numbers of articles and theses he stressed the idea that America had reached a stage where the workers were just looking for the Communists to lead them. This may seem preposterous after the experiences of June 17, July 4 and the election campaign of 1924, but this is what John Pepper told the Communist International in an article, “The Workers Party at a Turning Point!” (Inprecor, Sept. 27, 1923.):
“The laboring masses of the U. S. consider the Communists as their leaders, and they expect us to show them the best ways and means of fighting against the capitalists and the capitalist government.”
When a Communist makes such statements before the Communist International they can have only one meaning: that the popularity of the Communists and their party is widespread among the non-partisan workers, that the non-partisan workers have gropingly come to the realization of the necessity of combatting the capitalist government, and that it is up to the Communists to throw out slogans and take the lead. Tested by the situation of September, 1923, and by subsequent developments, such statements appear to be a bombastic phrase. It is against such statements that Stalin warns in his book “On Lenin and Leninism.”
“As against ‘revolutionary’ empty clangor,” he writes, “Lenin emphasized the simple everyday affairs, thus making it clear that ‘revolutionary’ fiction was contrary both to the spirit and the letter of true Leninism. Less luxurious phrases, says Lenin, more simple everyday work . . .
Less political clatter, more attention to the simplest but living facts of Communist contractive work’ (Article ‘Great Beginning’).”
But how is it that John Pepper could make such elementary errors in Marxian Judgment? It is because his entire conception of American life was as he wished to see it and not as it appeared in reality. John Pepper, the supposed Marxist, the man that still holds the C. E. C. minority under his sway, lived in a world of Illusions.
Wherein lies the strength of Marxism? In its adherence to reality of social life, in its ability to analyze the facts of social life so as to find the law of their development, so as to be able to forecast the main lines of the future. “Theory, does not form an independent kingdom,” says the Russian Marxian philosopher, Deborin, in his book, “Lenin as a Thinker.” “Theory that stands the test of practice is objective truth. We should not confine ourselves to objects that exist in our heads, Marx taught us, but we must deal with concrete objects.”
The following quotation should suffice to prove that John Popper confined himself to “objects that existed in his head” and that those objects he proclaimed to be the reality of American life. In his article “Facing the Third American Revolution” (in the Liberator of September, 1923) he speaks of the revolution as having become a stirring fact in the United States: “Never before in the world’s history” he writes, “not even in capitalist history, has it happened that such immense migrations, such deep changes in the manner of living of such great masses of people could take place in the short period of three years . . . It was a gigantic task to stir up the non-political conservative mass of American workers, farmers and colored slaves; but capitalism has succeeded in performing this miracle. Politics today has become a mass occupation. The basis of American conservative democracy was the inert mass of farmers. This basis is now collapsing. The last sure reverse of capitalism in America was the eight million Negroes in the south. This last reserve is in the act of deserting it . . . The workers are beginning to organize politically. The bankrupt farmers are overthrowing the most sacred fundamental law of capitalism, cash payments, and do not pay their debts. The Negroes in the south are making an unarmed Spartacus uprising.”
Does it not look like a veritable revolution? Indeed it does. So it was understood by John Pepper himself who in the October, 1923, Liberator, in an article “Shall we Assume Leadership?” speaks of the “more and more imminent revolutionary crisis looming up.” An imminent revolutionary crisis is understood in the Communist International in one way only; it means what the words imply: a great upheaval of large masses against the foundations of capitalism.
Now, we know that the minority will label an attack on such misleading declaration as “non-revolutionary,” as failure to see the deep changes wrought in American life by the war, as living in the pre-war mentality. To this we beg to reply that if there are in our party some members who see no changes in capitalism since 1914 and who do not realize the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system (such people represent the remnants of the S.P. psychology in our party), this does not justify blundering in the opposite direction. One is just as bad as the other. Neither is real Leninism.
“Vladimir Ilyitch,” says Kamenev, “may be called the profoundest realist, the man of the soil, i.e. a man who always knows how to reckon with real life, who knows how to combine theory with practice, a slogan with the modes of realizing it in life, who combines the greatest revolutionary passion with the greatest coolness in estimating the forces of the fighting parties and classes” (“Lenin and His Party,” p. 35)
If this to Leninism, then what are Pepper’s declamations? The generous reader may try and excuse him on the ground that even a Leninist may sometimes be mistaken. This is true. But John Pepper was too often mistaken, he was too deeply mistaken and he never acknowledged mistakes which is again contrary to true Leninism. The above article, “Facing the Third American Revolution,” which in America appeared in September, and was written in August, 1923, was in its main parts reprinted by Pepper in the Moscow “Pravda” at the time when the Fifth Congress of the C.I. was in session, that is to say, June, 1924, ten months after its first appearance. In the summer of 1924 John Pepper still saw the imminent revolution which he saw in the summer of 1923. Nothing had changed for Pepper, only this, that to the general analysis of American socio-political life he added in the “Pravda” the following paragraph:
“And last but not least, for the first time in the history of the United States there appears on the scene a Communist Party, which has its roots in the masses and is not a sect, A MASS COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE WORKING CLASS.”
He did not know we had already a mass Communist Party. He must be grateful to John Pepper for discovering it.
But while all these statements, only show how Marxism analysis should not be made, the last one throws a strange light on the slogan of a “class farmer-labor party” appearing in the minority thesis. If our goal of a mass Communist Party has already been achieved, why not utilize part of our spare energy to build a new “class farmer-labor party?”
Published in The Daily Worker, Thursday, January 8, 1925
A Poem by communist poet Shankar Shailendra, celebrating the victory of life
तू जिंदा है तो ज़िन्दगी की जीत में यकीन कर
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर. तू जिंदा है ….
ये ग़म के और चार दिन, सितम के और चार दिन,
ये दिन भी जायेंगे गुज़र, गुज़र गए हज़ार दिन.
कभी तो होगी इस चमन पे भी बहार की नज़र,
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर. तू जिंदा है…
हमारे कारवां को मंजिलों का इंतज़ार है,
ये आँधियों, ये बिजलियों की पीठ पर सवार है.
तू आ कदम मिला के चल, चलेंगे एक साथ हम,
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर. तू जिंदा है …
ज़मीं के पेट में पली अगन, पले हैं ज़लज़ले,
टिके न टिक सकेंगे भूख रोग के स्वराज ये,
मुसीबतों के सर कुचल चलेंगे एक साथ हम,
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर. तू जिंदा है..
बुरी है आग पेट की, बुरे हैं दिल के दाग ये,
न दब सकेंगे, एक दिन बनेंगे इन्कलाब ये,
गिरेंगे ज़ुल्म के महल, बनेंगे फिर नवीन घर,
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर. तू जिंदा है…
Tu zinda hai…
Tu zinda hai to zindagi ki jeet mein yaqeen kar,
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par, Tu zinda hai…
Ye gham ke aur chaar din, sitam ke aur chaar din,
ye din bhi jaayenge ghuzar, ghuzar gaye hazaar din.
kabhi to hogi is chaman pe bhi bahaar ki nazar,
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par, Tu zinda hai…
Hamare caravan ko manzilon ka intezaar hai,
ye aandhiyon, ye bijaliyon ki peeth par sawar hai.
tu aa kadam mila ke chal, chalenge ek saath hum,
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par, Tu zinda hai…
zameen ke pet mein pali agan, pale hain zalzale,
tike na tik sakenge bhookh rog ke swaraaj ye,
museebaton ke sar kuchal chalenge ek saath hum
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par, Tu zinda hai…
Buri hai aag pet ki, bure hain dil ke daag ye,
na dab sakenge, ek din banenge inqlaab ye.
girenge zulm ke mahal, banenge fir naveen ghar,
agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par, Tu zinda hai…
If you are alive, believe in the victory of life,
If there are heavens somewhere, bring them down to the earth.
Four more days of grief, four more days of torture,
they shall pass, like a thousand days have before them
some day the spring will beam down upon this garden,
If there are heavens somewhere, bring them down to the earth
Our caravan is awaiting destination
while it rides on storms and lightning.
Come, walk in the step with us, we’ll walk together
If there are heavens somewhere, bring them down to the earth
The fire and the fireballs have grown in the belly of this land
This rule of hunger and diseases will not be sustained
We will crush the difficulties and walk together
If there are heavens somewhere, bring them down to the earth
The fire in the belly is bad, the stains on this heart are bad
These cannot be suppressed, these will turn into a revolution one day,
The palaces of tyranny will be demolished, and new homes will be built
If there are heavens somewhere, bring them down to the earth.
Throughout 2011, the Arab peoples of North Africa and the Near East have risen one after another. They do not want to be victims of the consequences of the hegemony of monopoly capitalism nor to be subjected to poverty and unemployment, and they rejected the repression of the autocratic dictatorships that safeguarded such hegemony. The despotic regimes that have lasted for 30 to 40 years have been the main reason for the disorganization of the oppressed masses and have served as an obstacle to their attaining consciousness. The peoples who have risen up have achieved some victories but they have not been able to reap important fruits of this struggle, such as for example to achieve their own political power. Therefore, these reactionary bourgeois forces supported by Western imperialism have maintained or have tried to maintain their hegemony through the strengthening of their pillars with new collaborators, seeing that their hegemony was in difficulty.
The Arab peoples, who have risen up, have realized their potential and have tasted certain victories, which is why their struggles have still not been repressed in any country except for Libya. Despite their low level of consciousness and organization, the peoples are carrying forward their uprisings with an effort to try to overcome their weakness, and they insist on opposing the attacks by reactionary forces that have been organized especially by elements of political Islam, which has become more moderate and pro-American in almost all those countries.
We understand that the communist parties and organizations that are signing this document, gathered at the Sixth Congress of the Party of Labor of Turkey, express our pride and solidarity with the struggles of the masses of the people, not only in the Arab countries of North Africa and the Near East, but also in Europe, from Spain to Greece, and in Latin America, from Venezuela to Ecuador, for their social and popular rights and freedoms; as well we proclaim our support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people against the Zionist imperialism of Israel.
However, we are aware of the fact that our main weakness is the inadequate level of consciousness and organization of the peoples of the world, with a view to any process of struggle. The imperialists and their collaborators take advantage of this weakness in their efforts to renovate the weakened bases of their hegemony and to repress those struggles through ideological penetration and infiltration in those struggles of the peoples that imperialism claims to support, manipulating these struggles towards their own interests and eliminating the popular features of these struggles.
Western imperialism, which maintains hegemony in its hands and tries to strengthen its position in relation to the ascending imperialist powers, not only aims to reinforce its hegemony in the countries under its influence through the repression of the popular struggles, but also tries to establish its hegemony by extending its influence on the peoples and their struggles and using them as a tool in countries such as Syria and Iran, which have not yet been subjugated.
We do not support the regimes of either Assad or Khamenei. However, we stress the fact that the imperialist powers are intervening with the support of the reactionary forces in the region such as Turkey and the Saudis, in the name of support for the so-called “opposition” in Syria and Iran under the pretext of the struggle for “democracy” and “repression of the dictators”; these policies have nothing to do with the right of self-determination of the peoples or the democratic and social aspirations of peoples. We are opposed to imperialist interventions – economic as well as political and military – for whatever reason, whether they are called by their obliging collaborators or not, and we condemn such policies that only lead to war, bloodshed and suffering.
We call on the peoples of the world, especially the peoples of Syria and Iran, to be alert to the interventions and imperialist tricks such as those that have taken place in Libya, to show solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of the region and to support the fight against imperialism and its reactionary forces.
Ankara, December 2011
Communist Party of Albania
Communist Party of Benin
Party of Labor of Belgium
New Party of Cyprus
Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of Spain (ML)
Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece
Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia
Emek Partisi of Turkey
From En Marcha
# 1562 January 5 to 13, 2012
The Turkish bourgeois state represented by the AKP government has been choked by the heavy losses resulting from the extensive guerrilla operation of the HPG units on October 19. What they try to conceal under the oaths of revenge, racist provocations, lynching attempts and bringing the bourgeois media to line through the briefing of Prime Minister Erdogan is the reality that the denial and assimilation policy has suffered a heavy defeat once more in front of the Kurdish freedom movement.
Right after the general elections, the Turkish bourgeois state had put the total war plan called “new concept of war” into operation against the Kurdish freedom movement. Within the context of this wave of attacks, the Turkish colonialist fascism, the reactionary states of the region and the imperialist forces carried out important negotiations directly related to the Middle East politics, including the deployment of the NATO antimissile shield in Turkey. While the military operations, predominantly in the form of air attacks, continue in Southern and Northern Kurdistan uninterruptedly, they try to intimidate the Kurdish people through the attacks of extensive and massive arrest and imprisonments against its democratic organisations and cadres.
Within the same context, 7 fighters including Rustem Cudi, member of the Council of KCK , and Cicek Botan and Aliser Kocgiri, members of the Military Council of HPG, were killed in an air attack against the guerrilla zones of Xakurke and Xinere in Southern Kurdistan on October 10. This massacre, which was carried out under the technological support of imperialism and Zionism, and the on-going preparations of the Turkish colonialist army for a land operation were responded by the HPG with the Operation of Martyr Cicek on October 19. HPG announced that 81 soldiers were killed and tens of soldiers were injured in the operation against 18 different military targets in and around Cukurca.
Being one of the most extensive operations carried out so far by the Kurdish guerrilla forces, the Cukurca operation is a turning point for the latest military-political expedition of AKP. The “new war concept”, too, has failed in face of the resistance of the Kurdish people based on the guerrilla and the serhildan s. The discord in the ranks of the Turkish bourgeoisie about the possibility of solving the Kurdish question by military methods has deepened even further.
Among the Turkish workers and labourers, there is a developing tendency for peace and a reaction against the fact that their sons are being garbed in military uniforms and sent to die in attacks of occupation, of which they have no benefit. This tendency has not yet turned into the conscious of defending a just peace on the basis of the democratic solution of the Kurdish question; however, the demand of “stopping the blood shed” is growing. Although the Turkish bourgeois state tries to suffocate and disable this demand through media manipulation and lynching provocations, the demand for peace has inevitably taken its place in the agenda of the Turkish workers and labourers and this will undoubtedly turn into the conscious and action of democratic and just peace as a result of the struggle of the progressive and revolutionary forces.
It is a duty of international character to defend the Kurdish freedom movement which is one of the important centres of resistance in the world in such period where the armed resistance forces through ideological, political and military attacks are tried to be liquidated and the people’s rebellions and the resistances from North Africa to Europe and from Asia to Latin America are tried to be manipulated and suffocated. The operation for the liquidation of PKK and the Kurdish freedom movement is a covert NATO operation. In this sense, solidarity with the Kurdish freedom movement means resistance against the imperialist terror organisation NATO. It means resistance against the Middle East policies of the USA and Israel. It means resistance against the ideological and political attacks claiming that the peoples, the working class and the labourers have no will and power to make history.
We call upon all the progressive, revolutionary and the communist forces of the world to keep alive the memory of the immortal martyrs of the Kurdish freedom movement, to stand against the military operations of the colonialist fascism supported by the US and other imperialist forces and to defend the Kurdish people’s organisations which are exposed to political genocide through arrest and imprisonments.
We salute the operation of Cukurca by HPG, who, using their right to resist against the colonialist yoke, oppression and violence, carried out this action in memory of the martyrs of Xakurke-Xinere against the preparations of the colonialist fascist Turkish state for land operation.
We salute with great respect the martyrs of the Kurdish freedom movement in the name of our comrades-in-arm Rustem Cudi, Cicek Botan and Aliser Kocgiri, the dedicated guerrilla commanders, each of whom have many years of experience in war, and the 4 HPG fighters and the 7 immortal fighter who turned into martyrs in the operation of Cukurca. Their memories will live forever in the free, democratic and just peace of the Turkish and Kurdish people, in the victory of the Kurdish people’s freedom movement and in the victory of socialism in our region.
Rustem Cudi, Cicek Botan, Aliser Kocgiri and the martyrs of freedom of the Kurdish people are immortal!
Down with the colonialist fascist dictatorship! Peace, equality, brotherhood and freedom for the Kurdish nation!
23 October 2011 / International Bureau / Statement No: 57
We are posting statement of support issued by the Central Committee of the AUCP (B). Other Aspect has disagreements on several issues with the politics of AUCP (B) and its leader Nina Andreeva. We are publishing this statement as it is in support of working class resistance and also it contains some important information on the events unfolding in Kazakhistan
WE SUPPORT THE HEROIC STRUGGLE OF THE KAZAKH WORKERS!
Statement of the Central Committee of the
All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks
On December 16, 2011, on the day of the so-called “independence” of Kazakhstan, the ruling regime in Kazakhstan of Nursultan Nazarbayev, in Zhanaozen Mangistau (formerly Mangyshlak) region shot oil workers of enterprises “KazMunayGas” and supporters of their local residents at a peacful rally. Also punitive shots were fired during the night of 17 to 18 December in the village of Shetpe, where the striking oil workers and local residents blocked the rail line that connects the city of Aktau (formerly Shevchenko), with the rest of Kazakhstan.
According to the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan (leader – Ainur Kurmanov) and an independent trade union “Zhanartu” (“Revival”, the chairman of the Central Committee of trade union Esenbek Ukteshbaev), resulting in the massacre, the regime killed at least 70 people. Hundreds were wounded and missing. The police arrested protestors, then beat and tortured them in Nazarbayev’s jails by pouring cold water on their naked in the cold and, burned them with irons, as well as using other methods of torture, inheriting the atrocities of the Nazi executioners. They then tried to destroy the corpses of those killed and tortured to cover up the traces of their crimes.
The strike of oil workers’ Karazhanbasmunai “and production branch” Ozenmunaygaz “(part of the structure,” KMG “) began in May 2011 and lasted seven months. The workers demanded better working conditions and an end to the arbitrariness of employers, higher wages, freedom of trade union activities. That is, initially, their demands were not beyond the bourgeois law.
However, the authorities completely refused to meet the just demands of workers. Then began the persecution and murder of workers and trade unionists. Sentenced to 6 years in prison on far-fetched and utterly false pretences “for inciting social discord” filed by interim President “Karazhanbasmunai”, citizen of China Yuan Mu, condemned union lawyer Natalia Sokolova, who became the leader of the striking oil workers. Trade union activist Zhaksylyk Turban was murderered, and brutally murdered Zhansaule Karabalaeva, a daughter of a trade union leader of a transport company, and other comrades, trade union activists and labour movement activists.
In November, saw the creation of a single working committee to establish joint workers’ union and adopted a number of complaints and allegations by the workers of Kazakhstan with a call to work together and present a united front. The workers supported the decision Zhanaozen Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan to boycott the elections to the Majilis (lower chamber of Kazakh Parliament) to be held on January 15 this year. The rally was planned for December 16, at which he was to declare the need for a general political strike, demanding the resignation of the government and President Nazarbayev.
The authorities knew perfectly well about the upcoming rally and decided to drown it in the blood of the workers’ struggle for their rights.
This brutal crackdown on peaceful workers by Nazarbayev has put himself on a par with butcher Nicholas the Bloody, murderer Boris Yelstin and has also earned the infamous title of butcher of his own people – Nursultan the Bloody. They and the Chinese capitalists joint owners of “Karazhanbasmunai will not be able to not wash away the blood on their hands of Kazakh workers.”
Developments in Kazakhstan, once again confirm the validity of our findings that in the Politburo of the CPSU ripened the HQ of counter-revolution, which led to the temporary defeat of socialism in the USSR and the People’s Democracies, that under the guise of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” China under the leadership of the CPC has made a transition to the capitalist path of development, becoming over the years of market reforms, one of the major imperialist powers.
* * *
Over the 20 years of neoliberal reforms, Kazakhstan has turned into a typical country of peripheral capitalism with the commodity nature of the economy, brazen robbery and the sale of the richest mineral and natural resources, most severe exploitation of the working class and toiling masses of the country.
Kazakhstan has large oligarchic capital, led by President Nazarbayev, the billionaire and his son-in-law billionaire Timur Kulibayev (one of the owners, along with the Chinese corporation CITIC, «KMG”), his middle daughter, Dinara Kulibayev (wife of Timur Kulibayev, the only female billionaire from Central Asia), and others. The country is completely dominated by multinational corporations, including the increasing role played by Chinese companies.
The vast social inequality, mass unemployment, injustice and poverty were the main factors in long-term, increasing steadily, and assuming a political character, struggle of the working class, the working people of Kazakhstan for their rights.
After the massacre of oil workers in Western Kazakhstan, the struggle is beginning to move onto revolutionary tracks.
The struggling workers are no longer limiting their demands for the nationalization of enterprises and workers’ control. They are already calling for the formation of workers militias to maintain public order, the organization of the working class into a single class trade unions under the auspices of the trade union “Zhanartu”, to create a mass political party of working people in order to develop an effective program against the domination of capital, and for socialism.
Such party may be only a party built on a solid foundation of Marxism-Leninism, a revolutionary Leninist-Stalinist Bolshevik party without petty-bourgeois illusions, or the ideological and organizational influence of Trotskyism (Socialist Resistance is a section of Kazakhstan Trotskyist International Committee for Workers’ International), a party most closely associated with the struggle of the working class and all working people against the power of capital, for Soviet power and socialism, and in the vanguard of this struggle.
We grieve together with all working people of Kazakhstan for the victims and we are sure that the sacrifices will not be in vain. We support the demands of the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan for the release from prison of Natalia Sokolova, an end to torture and mistreatment of detainees, for those responsible for the killings of innocent workers and local residents be held responsible, to reinstate all the dismissed strikers.
We have no doubt that the courageous struggle of Kazakh workers will set an example and give impetus to the struggle of working people in other republics for their liberation from exploitation and oppression.
We wish our Kazakh brothers heroic successes in the fight!
N.A. Andreeva General Secretary of the CC AUCPB
January 11, 2012, Leningrad
This article appeared in EN Marcha, the central organ of Partido Comunista Marxista Leninista del Ecuador (Marxist–Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador. It analyses the grabbing of rich fertile lands by the agro multi nationals and rich countries in Africa.
Another article dealing with the same aspect of imperialism referred to as Agri-colonialism was published in the Indian ML Journal Revolutionary Democracy titled Agricolonialism: Poor man’s land, Rich men’s harvest which can be accessed by clicking here. Continue reading “Famine in Africa or denial of food?”